The Church or the ordinary family is not immune to people who cause divisions and disruptions. The early church which had experienced a sense of community began to break away.
Examples of Paul and Barnabas arguing, Peter and Paul disagreeing. The Church in Corinth began to have deep divisions. People left the community and in some cases left it divided. Judas one of the disciples lived with other others, his heart was full of evil intensions.
This led him to act in a treacherous way. His heart had been separated from
others. Jesus had warned him about this, but he continued on his chosen path of destruction.
He did not want to listen to Jesus. The question to ask; when is it permissible to send someone away?
Vanier states, “These people, whose hearts are filled with jealousy, are often extremely intelligent, with a considerable ability to seize and exploit failings in legitimate authority or the community’s life. So they can appear clairvoyant, to have an ability to redress injustice and save the situation.”(Vanier 1982: 82)
These individuals have the ability to create havoc, sweet talkers, but
leave an after test in the mouth. These individuals because of these abilities can appear as people who are
community builders but ultimately sapping authority and undermining it is the
ultimate goal. Obviously it is important to let then go from the community. Jesus our master is clear when he says,
“If your brother sins against you go and tell him this fault, between you and
him alone. If listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does to
listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed
by two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the
church: and if he refuses to listen to the church, let him be to you as a
Gentile and a tax-collector”(Matthew 18 vs. 15-17)
Venier states that only the elderly in the community can take
responsibility for letting go of a member. At the same time these elders must
take responsibility for failing to deal with the member of the community and
setting up dialogue or avenues for conciliation. Elders would take
responsibility for not having recognised the cracks from the start and acted. The
community is not exempt either it too takes responsibility for its failure to
engage with the brother or sister.
So sending someone away may sound easy on the surface but is shows a
community that has failed on several levels in terms of human
relationships. However if someone
is causing scandal among members of the community, these need to be cautioned
and chastised. If this failures then sending away from the community becomes
the only option. Jesus says,
“..Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be
better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be
drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18 vs.6-8) Finally people are not
sent away from the community because they are difficult. Only those who have cut
themselves off from the community should be sent away.
For these possess a really danger in causing scandal in a community and
sapping confidence from legitimate authority. Sadly such people deflect the
community from its goals.
A Commentary on Jean Vanier -Community and Growth, this book is worth reading as people set up a communities
My name is Barnabas Sibusiso Nqindi, rector of St Barnabas-Bluff. I enjoy a good debate and I love to see people grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ