OceanSide church of Christ
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LET’S JUST LEAVE IT ALONE
Victor M. Eskew
Jim’s head hurt several hours that day. About 5 o’clock, the pain was severe enough that he went to the Emergency Room. After an hour and a half wait, he was finally seen by the ER doctor. All of his vital signs were good. The doctor told him that they were going to leave him alone that night. He was sent home and told to return the next morning if the pain was still intense. That night at 1:17 a.m. Jim died at home. An autopsy revealed that had more extensive testing been done at the ER Jim would have been spared. The doctor’s “leave it alone” attitude brought death to a good man and much heartache to a family.
As you read the previous paragraph, you were probably angered because of the doctor’s lack of concern. How could he have told this man to just “leave it alone” for the night? Sadly, a “leave it alone” attitude is often taken by many within the church when it comes to spiritual things. Because of this attitude, things often get worse and larger problems manifest themselves within churches.
There are times that programs within the church do not function as they should. Some may be satisfied; others, however, are upset. In such cases, the leadership of the church can take a “leave it alone” approach. This was not the approach of the apostles when it came to problems in the first century church. In Acts 6 a problem arose among the widows over the daily ministration. Let’s read Luke’s account of this incident. “And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business” (Acts 6:1-3). Immediately the twelve apostles addressed this problem. They did NOT just leave it alone. Their example should be the apostolic guidelines for all leaders when problems arise in the church. They need to take the bull by the horns and address the difficulties and grievances that arise within the church.
Sin is another element within a church that some do not want to address. It happened in the church at Corinth. A fornicator was in their midst (I Cor. 5:1). The church refused to deal with the situation. Paul wrote about their negligence, saying: “And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you” (I Cor. 5:2). Paul knew the detrimental effect their “leave it alone” attitude could have on the church. He warned: “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (I Cor. 5:6). Paul demanded immediate action by the church. His instructions are found in I Corinthians 5:4-5. “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” Paul demanded that this man be removed from their midst. “Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person” (I Cor. 5:13). It was not a pleasant action. It was not a popular action. However, it was a needed action. Too, it was a divinely authorized action. Churches do not need to leave sin alone. It is a deadly disease that can kill the soul of man and contaminate an entire congregation.
A third item that some have a tendency to leave alone is personal problems that arise with their brethren. Brethren sometimes treat one another in evil ways. This can be done by words or actions or both. Many times brethren just want to leave these situations alone. The Bible does not teach us to take a “leave it alone” approach when conflicts arise in relationships. Both parties in the dispute are called upon to settle the problem when it is known to exist. If I know that my brother has aught against me, I am to go to him (Matt. 5;23-24). If I have been offended by my brother, I am to go to him. “Moreover if thy brother trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother” (Matt. 18:15).
Dear readers, the church and our relationships with one another are too important to leave alone when there are problems, sins, and conflicts within them. These troubles call for immediate attention. When they are handled well, the church prospers (Acts 6:7), the church is kept holy (I Cor. 5:8), souls are saved (II Cor. 2:6-7), and friendships are maintained (Matt. 18:15). We exhort you: Do not leave things alone. Take the healing approach that is authorized by God.