Crime and Punishment

crime-and-punishmentIf you want to know what a particular culture or society thinks about specific crimes, look at the punishment that is meted out for the crime. The more heinous the crime, the stronger the punishment. Throughout history, each culture has decided what they believe to be the most fitting consequences for those who refuse to abide by societal norms.

Similarly, if you want to see what God thinks about certain behaviors, look at what He says should happen to those who violate what He declares about those behaviors.

“As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him…” (Titus 3:10)

If he keeps being divisive — and note that he doesn’t even get three strikes, just two — have nothing more to do with him. Stay away from him. Don’t talk to him. Don’t associate with him.

It should be noted that the letter to Titus is one of the leadership epistles or pastoral epistles. Paul was writing to a fellow church leader. These words were directed toward someone who helped to oversee a congregation.

In that context, these words are even more poignant. Not only should Titus avoid a divisive person, but the implication is that he should also warn others in the flock to do the same. He should advise his congregation that they should keep away from this person.

And Paul even goes on to explain a bit of the why question, helping to give Titus — and us — a more complete understanding. Why do we avoid such a person? Because we know that he is “warped and sinful; he is self- condemned. (Titus 3:11)

Warped. Sinful. Self-condemned. Those are strong words, aren’t they? Paul apparently has no desire to be politically correct on this issue. He’s not lowering the standard to try to keep people from being offended. No, he’s being straight-forward and clear, making sure that the severity of this issue is understood. If you are being divisive, you’re warped, you’re sinful, and you’re self-condemned.

Being divisive is a serious issue with God.

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