Let me tell you about story about a man named Judas…haha, thought I was going to say Jed…Clampit that is. Just a little Beverly Hillbilly joke. But yes, Judas.
Simple, instead of repentance and forgiveness he chose a hanging, unlike Peter, another disciple who failed.
Let us do a little psychoanalysis on Judas. In his guilt and shame he put himself in a noose.
I see this with Christians. Yes, some commit spiritual suicide and quit the faith which is a travesty. Yet, I want to focus on relationships in the church because here lies my great concern.
I see guilt and shame played out in the church regularly with devastating effect.
It goes like this. A person is judgmental or offended. The talk wildly under protection of phrases like “I’m worried about so-and-so.” or “I just want the church to be as such-and-such.” This is all cover. They have sinned by not attempting to bring peace and have opted for judgment to add to the first sin. In the context of continuous talking they begin to mistreat people. It usually isn’t overt but just as real and the effect is felt by the church. They develop little comforting factions, ones that will listen and even fuel their sin. It is very comforting, remember misery “loves” company.
Strange but now the person is in sin and under the burden of guilt and shame. They pull from relationships, withholding the obligation of fellowship. It is a type of tantrum. Then their noose of relationship closes to their most trusted false prophets, those who support this individual.
Eventually, they leave that church to contaminate another or commit spiritual suicide. They feel they are the only and best Christians and many times no longer attend church because they have a “personal” relationship with Jesus.
It is very twisted. We the church absorb these arsonists gracefully in hope of repentance. They love starting the fires of self-justification, while the mature of the church carry a handy fire extinguisher.
It is hard to know when to cut these people lose to avoid continued damage but time often works best. They usually leave and this is to their shame, the pain of the church and the churches corresponding relief.