For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Romans 12:4-5

And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 1Corinthians 12:26

As members of one body and members of one another, we care for each other’s needs, offer comfort in times of suffering and loss, and a steadying hand during chaotic seasons. This is the love that will draw the lost world to Christ. But (and this is an important “but”), our unity must extend beyond mere gathering and ministering to one another.

Indeed, true Christian connectedness extends beyond the temporal. In fact, all we do in the physical realm flows from the spiritual. This is commonly understood in the Christian community. So, what about our sin? We are quick to mourn with a brother or sister over some temporal loss, and we should, but which is worse, physical loss (even the loss of a loved one) or damage to one’s relationship with God?

No sin is private. It may be secret but it is not private… The sin committed in the privacy of the home will have its effect in the assembly of the saints. A. W. Tozer

Sin in secret, even undiscovered, makes a man less fit for his participation in the Body of Christ until he has been restored through confession, forgiveness, and cleansing. Temporal personas have no effect on spiritual condition. “Fake it until you make it” is deception, not only toward the community of faith, but also for the one attempting the charade.

Furthermore, sin committed in secret draws a man away from fellowship in two ways. First, it occupies time, attention, and energy better invested in community life. Secondly, the guilt and conviction one feels in good company works to drive him away from the inhabiting presence of God. Regrettably, the one who runs from community quickly finds himself in a downward spiral of sin and isolation (or bad company).

For the sake of the Body of Christ, leaders in the church must address this issue directly. The community of faith should be a place of healing… from all that afflicts the individual and the Body of Christ. Of course, leaders must lead in this regard; and no, I am not prescribing anything dramatic and certainly not anything beyond the dictates of Scripture.

Such an endeavor will require a covering and bathing in prayer, beginning with those entrusted with the care of the fellowship. As we know, the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5;16). Moreover, the Father is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse from all unrighteousness, those who will confess their sin (1John 1:9). He has made it as simple and easy as He possibly can.

God bless you with courage and grace for the healing of the Body of Christ entrusted to your care.

Humbly yours and forever His,