ADMINISTERING THE JUSTICE
byPastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
"The cloke that I left at Troas with Carp us, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words. At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion." II Timothy 4:13-17 7
We have decided the proper punishment. We are inside our own area of judgment, and it is now time to administer our judgment. How we administer that judgment is very critical. Let me give you four things we ought to do in the administration of the punishment. Some of these thoughts will perhaps surprise you.
1. Usually punishment should be given with dignity, propriety and courtesy. This should be the case most of the time.
2. Harsh treatment is usually reserved for a time when it is needed as a part of the judgment. There are times when as a part of your child's punishment you ought to get angry. This should never be because you are mad. You should show anger only because the child needs you to do so never because you lost your temper. Anger is a tool which sometimes needs to be used as a part of the punishment of the transgression.
II Samuel 14:28, "So Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, and saw not the king's face." David had a son named Ammon, who raped his sister, Tamar. Absalom, another of David's sons, plotted and killed his brother Ammon as revenge for the raping of Tamar. David punished Absalom by not allowing him to see his father for two years. We also must sometimes use aloofness, anger or harshness as a part of punishment.
3. We should use the harshest treatment for the judgers. Unless harsh treatment is a part of the actual punishment for the person who has done the wrong, we would be wise to treat no one harshly except, of course, those who are guilty of the wicked sin of judging.
What the Bible Says About Judging
1. Judging is inexcusable. Romans 2:1, "Therefore thou art inexcusable, 0 man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things."
Who is inexcusable? The drunkard? No! The harlot? No! The whoremonger? No! The thief? No! The murderer? No! Who is inexcusable? "Whosoever thou art that judgest." This means you are not to judge outside of your own area. If a man is given an area of judgment, but judges outside his own area, the Bible says that is inexcusable.
Look at all the sins listed here in Romans 1:24-32, "Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, god gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Look at all these wicked sins listed here; yet, who is inexcusable? Those who judge those who commit these sins yet who are outside their area of judgment. The judger, the gossiper, the slanderer, the critic, the tattler and the babbler are inexcusable. It is the only sin which is inexcusable!
Inside your jurisdiction, it is proper to judge these people; but to judge outside your jurisdiction is inexcusable! God will judge them. It is our responsibility to judge those things only if they are in our area of jurisdiction.
2. Judging is the only sin that will get you punished for another.
Deuteronomy 19:15-19 explains that a false witness was to receive the same punishment as would have been inflicted upon the accused if he had been proven guilty. Haman accused Mordecai of a capital crime punishable by death on the gallows. Haman ended up dying on those gallows intended for Mordecai. Esther 7:10, "So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath pacified." The harshest treatment mentioned in the Bible was given to those who judged. No other sin demands such harsh retribution as does false accusation.
3. Judging is the first step down. Once a person starts judging people who are not in his area of jurisdiction, he is on his way down a terrible path.
4. Judging is the only sin that warrants public rebuke. I Timothy 5:17-20, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And the labourer is worthy of his reward. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all that others also may fear."
The only sin mentioned here is false accusation. God is not instructing us to rebuke publicly everybody in the church who commits a sin, nor is He giving us permission to do so. That is foolishness! You could never do it, for everyone sins every day. In reality, the only sin spoken of here is the sin of false accusation.
5. Judging is a sin Paul rebukes someone for committing. We read in I Timothy 1:20, "Of whom is Hymenceus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme." II Timothy 2:17, "And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenceus and Philetus."
In I Corinthians 5:1 there is the mention of a man who was committing adultery with his stepmother. Paul never mentions the man's name. He does, however, openly rebuke the blasphemers and slanderers. The destroying of someone's reputation was considered worse by Paul than many other sins. I wonder how many lives have been destroyed by judgers. I wonder how many homes have been ruined by them. I wonder how many ministries and churches have been destroyed. That is why it is so wicked.
II Timothy 4:14, 15, 'Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words." Alexander, the coppersmith, was named in Scripture for his resistance to Paul. Yet, we do not know the names of those who were guilty of adultery or other various sins. We do know the names of judgers and slanderers. God lets us know in His Word.
6. Judgers are the main people beloved John rebuked. III John 9, 10, "I wrote unto the church: but Diotrophes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church." Diotrophes was guilty of slander, or as John described it, "prating against us with malicious words."
If you saw a deacon in your church drunk, or if you saw a deacon with a harlot, what would you do? Most people would expose him. If you had a deacon come up to you and slander someone, what would you do? Would you listen? Or would you treat him harshly like John did?
Have you ever considered that the Devil's main sin is that of accusing? Satan is called the "accuser of the brethren." What does it really take to be as wicked as the Devil? Accusing the brethren! I am not trying to minimize any sin, but I am trying to put the emphasis where God does.
7. Make it your goal to salvage wrongdoers. I do not understand preachers who do not want to salvage their people. If one of my people falls into any type of sin, I want to salvage him. I do not condone the sin of King David, but I do want to remind you that he wrote some of his greatest Psalms after his sin. God is in the salvaging business!
Abraham did wrong when he got the Egyptian maid pregnant. I certainly am not condoning what he did; yet, after that sin, God still performed the miracle of giving Abraham a son when he was 100 years old.
Jacob was away from the will of God for 20 years. I am not condoning that, but it was after that that he was called a prince.
Moses killed a man, and that was a terrible wrong! I am not condoning murder, but it was after that sin, that God used him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.
If you ever want to get like God, then start looking at sin like God does. Hate it because of what it does to those you love!
In my ministry I have been accused of not hating sin. That is a filthy lie. I do hate sin. I hate the liquor that destroyed my dad. I hate sin because of what it does to the people I love, but I still want to salvage those people. With these thoughts in minds, let me give you four principles by which I always try to live.
Four Principles By Which I Try to Live
1. I always defend the accused (unless it concerns a broken civil law). I do not know whether or not the accused person did that which he is accused of doing, but I do know that the accuser is doing what the Devil does. He is accusing the brethren. The Devil is not a false accuser. He is a true accuser. If you accuse someone to me, I am the witness to your sin of accusing.
A dear friend of mine who had been a preacher for many years called me one day. Years ago he quit the ministry, but I never knew why. He assumed I knew, so he started to tell me about it. I stopped him and said to him, "I do not want to know what bad you did. I just want to know about all the good you did." He began to cry and said to me, "You are the only real friend I know I have."
I would rather someone say that to me than to be known as one who spreads garbage about people. What real pleasure is there in that?
2. I try never to believe criticism. You do not have to believe or disbelieve something that is said to you. If someone comes to me accusing someone else of doing something wrong, I do not believe it. I am not saying that the accuser is a liar because I am not saying that the accused person did not do it; I merely refuse to believe it is true until it is proven to be true!
3. I never investigate outside my own area of judgment. I do not want to know what someone did that was wrong. I do not want to know what a fellow pastor did or was accused of doing. If it is in my area to judge, then I must investigate. Otherwise, I do not want to know!
4. I do not spread accusations even if they prove to be true. I do not want anyone to know what someone has been accused of doing even if it is true. I get weary of the Pharisees who say someone 15 covering sin merely because they do not want to destroy someone's reputation. Jesus showed the most compassion on those who had fallen into sin. He showed the least compassion toward those who spread it.
It is time for Christians to live like Christians in the way we treat sinners. If people have sinned, we ought to discipline them with dignity, courtesy and love, unless we feel that harshness will help them.
When I was a little boy, my mother and I would go downtown to shop. There was a large "ten cent" store there called Grand and Silvers that sold everything, including the best malted milk I ever drank! Back them they cost only a nickel. We were so poor that we could never afford to buy one, but I would go over and watch the people drink their malted milks. Sometimes someone would leave a little in the bottom of their glass and I would sip what was left!
I loved to look around in that store, and I didn't stay by Mama very well. My mother would call me back to her, but soon I would wander away again. Finally, she would hide from me so that I could not find her! She could still see me, but I could not see her. I would become very frightened because my mother was separating herself from me. That was the punishment. It was harsh, but it was meant to teach me a lesson. When it was over, she always lovingly made up to me because I had learned the lesson. Harshness was a part of her judgment.
Most of the time our harshness should be reserved for those who are harsh. Judgment should be harshest on those who are judges.
If I damage your name, it is a greater crime than robbing you of your possessions. The Bible says in Proverbs 22:la, 'A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches."
I refuse to steal someone's good name, because if I do so, the harshest judgment is reserved for me. I do not ever want to be inexcusable!
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“I am an old-fashioned preacher of the old-time religion, that has warmed this cold world's heart for two thousand years.” —Billy Sunday