When one says someone is destroying the love of the brotherhood, we often think of someone who may be causing misunderstandings or quarrelling with a fellow church member thus ruining the harmony amongst brethren.
What if there was another way that is even more destructive? What if it is not only within one congregation? What if it was widespread? What if it was less obvious? What if this behaviour is not only accepted but encouraged even? Would that not be more destructive than say, one person shouting at another person? ‘How?’ You might ask.
Remember, that Jesus and the Apostles taught us that we are all brethren and that we must show that love for one another because this was a command of Jesus and it is proof that we are God’s children.
“But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren.” Matthew 23:6
“This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.” 1 John 3:10-12
But what happens when it is the Church leaders who are destroying the brotherhood? How? When they are the ones who are pitting one brother against another. When they are the ones who are instructing the “trusted” members to SPY on those are “suspicious“.
But what constitutes as those whom the Church leaders as “suspicious”? Is it someone who may be committing adultery? Is it someone who may be committing crimes? Or someone who has become addicted to illegal drugs or has fallen to alcoholism?
The answer lies on the reports being submitted by the Ministers to the Church Leaders. What is the criteria as someone who must be “WATCHED”? Here is a blank form that contains information that the Leaders want to find out:
- Did they attend the Playback? (meaning attend the Webex rerun Worship Services officiated by the Executive Minister)
- Did they set aside for the Year End Thanksgiving or F-9?
- Did they put in an envelope for the Special Offering or F-13 (So even if you put in the regular offering, but do not put anything in the Special one, you are still “suspicious“!
What else can you see?
- Even those who have been EXPELLED are still being monitored!
I’m sure the Church leaders can and does justify these actions by claiming that God wants them to keep “watch over the flock”. Then why specifically those criteria of Offerings and Webex Attendance?
Do they even bother with those who are living unrighteously? Who are committing fornication or adultery? Do they bother teaching children about respecting the parents? Do they even bother if anyone is tempted to gamble? Have you heard any of these topics in the Worship Services? NO? But I am sure you have heard about submitting to the Beloved Leader haven’t you?
So back to my introduction. How can we then say we “love” our brethren when officers and other ‘trusted‘ members are instructed to keep an eye on other brethren? Do you notice officers when you are in the chapel foyer? They WATCH you if you put in an envelope. If you don’t – – SUSPICIOUS.
The Ministers and Church leaders are not watching over our souls – they are watching our pockets. They want to see if we will submit to the instructions of giving money. And if we don’t, are we no longer Christians? Is Christianity now just a matter of Dollar amount?
What are we creating inside the Church? Look around. Do you see the other members look at you with a suspicious eye? When you pass right by the F-9 office, are there distrustful glances that follow you? Are there whisperings from Finance officers because you did not set aside? Do others feel paranoid because they know they are being watched? Are others giving simply because they do not want to be “on Watch”? Then it is no longer voluntary offerings, is it? What happens now to the names on the Watchlist? Do they now have to PROVE their loyalty? Oh and let us not forget how many are spying on our Facebook accounts to see if we ‘liked’ or ‘shared’ anything that the Church Leaders may deem against our Beloved Leader!
The point is, when brethren are watching each other’s actions, how does that foster the good relationship between brethren? When others are looking at each other with judging eyes, does that not ruin the brotherhood that was established by Jesus? Because if you teach brethren to monitor and report each other, instead of examining themselves?
And if I see a brother who does not drop an envelope in the box, what should I think? That he is NOT ONE with EVM? That his faith is weak? Should I report a person for dropping coins in the offertory pouch?
How can we maintain a sincere love for one another when we are being encouraged to spy on the very same ones we are supposed to love? It cannot be done! Why? Because Jesus said in Matthew 7:2-4
“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?”
You might say, aren’t you judging the Church leaders? As I have remarked in the past, God will judge them for what they are doing. It is very different issue though, when church members are instructed to spy on others and judge their actions. It will be the ruin of the brotherhood! Can’t you see it happening now?
As for those who have been expelled, why are they on the Watchlist when they are not even allowed to attend Church gatherings? How shall they be watched? There is only one answer to that, there are brethren who are instructed to follow them – which is not only unethical, it is also illegal.
Dear Church Leaders, do you really want to fulfill the instructions of God to keep watch over the flock? ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS. (Note: telling us to “not listen/read what others are saying, are not actual answers)
We were not raised in Church this way. We were never told to run away from the expelled; we were never taught to hide from non-members because someone may say something that makes us question our faith. On the contrary, we were encouraged to face this world. Expelled? Encourage them to return. Members with questions? We welcome them that they may learn more. How?
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15
So if we really are to love our brethren, answer their questions as well – you don’t just cast them away like filthy refuse. How many have been removed from their office? How many kicked out by family? How many have been unfriended by other Church members simply because their Ministers told them that they might be influenced by them?
How shall we love them? Tell us.
“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” Hebrews 13:1-3