Treating others as unpunishable is difficult. I’ll admit it. I sometimes feel that if it was only Jesus and, I would do so well! But, as all of us know, we are surrounded by millions of people who share the planet with us. It reminds me of a minister who once said, “I love being in the ministry. I just wish it didn’t involve people.” Indeed, the words ‘relationship’, ‘friendship’, ‘connection’, ‘family’, ‘community’, and similar words that illustrate the way we do life with people, have the potential to scare the living daylights out of us! Danny Silk is certainly my relationship hero! He has a way of dealing with relationships in such a powerful yet practical and effective way. I have learned so much from his teachings over the last 4 years. He has written 2 books that changed my life that I can highly recommend: ‘Keep your Love On’ and ‘Loving Your Kids On Purpose’. I can honestly say that I am still a work in process, but I am so thankful for his wisdom about relationships that he so generously shares with us!
Credits: Teaching by Pastor Danny Silk, BSSM First Year 2015/2016
‘UNPUNISHABLE’: BSSM LECTURE NOTES
PUNISHMENT: YES OR NO?
Being unpunishable is a fruit of the Cross.
1 John 2:2
“And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”
Jesus came and lived a sinless life. He came as the only one who can fix the problem of sin. Jesus came and healed the relationship between God and us. If Jesus’ blood came to completely take away God’s wrath toward sin, then who are we to punish others? We must let go of our obsession with punishing people.
At Bethel Church, they have moved away from the idea that they are going to punish you for your mistakes. They have created an atmosphere that says: “If you make a mistake, I will control myself and not try to control or punish you until you do as I say.”
God is never afraid of anything… ever. He is not afraid of your sin. He doesn’t want to control you. Yes, He can, but he chooses not to. That is why He gave Adam and Eve a choice in the Garden. He wants us to be free and choose to follow Him out of our own will, not because we are robots.
“But Jesus called them to Himself and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.'”
The earth’s way is to create a force that scares people. We wrongly believe we can punish people most effectively when we withhold love from them. We sometimes think discipleship means we need to tell people what they’ve done wrong.
We get caught up with “the wages of sin is death” mantra – which is true, but we apply it in the wrong way because we wrongly believe we need to punish people for their sins. Yet the truth is, Jesus already paid the ultimate price for everyone’s sins. We are almost afraid that if we don’t have a punisher, we don’t know whether we can trust ourselves to keep ourselves in line.
The fear of the Lord is not the fear of being punished. The mindset that the fear of the Lord and the fear of being punished mean the same thing shows that we don’t really understand love.
We don’t really know what to do with freedom. When freedom is introduced as freedom, we need to know that it comes to us with a responsibility. You have been given freedom in the context of love. Everything that you do is housed in love. You have been given freedom so that you can love.
There were 2 trees planted in the Garden of Eden so that we could have a choice. God had put a poor choice in the garden, not the devil. If we use our freedom to destroy love, it has eternal consequences. The enemy of love is fear. God is love and His presence chases away fear.
You decide which spirit you will cultivate in your relationships. You are responsible for that choice. God cannot say “love your enemies” unless He gives you the grace to do that. The idea of punishment is a cultural demon. It is not your weapon or friend. It is not something you want to keep in your home.
1 John 2:1-2
“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”
The atonement of Jesus has illuminated the need for punishment.
The idea that you need to be punished and judged is not right. It doesn’t mean that you cannot be accountable. You need to manage yourself in love. With love, there are no rules. Why is this? Well, when my objective is to protect your heart, there doesn’t need to be any rules. On the contrary, if the fear of punishment is driving my relationships, my life requires a lot of rules. In relationships, our aim is to be loving, not to preserve all the rules.
Life under the law requires us to protect our relationship with the law. But life in the Spirit requires us to learn to live free, protecting our relationship with the Spirit.
Christ died to give us freedom.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”
Freedom requires that you think and take responsibility for your actions. Why would people want to live in bondage? The answer is because they don’t want to be responsible. If you live in bondage, you can always use the cop out and say, “I couldn’t help it because I’m a victim.”
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
Jesus came to show us the Father. He didn’t say: “If you love me you will let me control you.”
He effectively said: “If you love me, it will show up in the way you protect what I told you what is important to me. I told you what is important to me, but I am not going to control you.”
RULES VS. RELATIONSHIP
Here are some points worth remembering:
- Rules don’t protect character. They generally create a culture that doesn’t need love.
- Prioritizing the rules creates “religion”.
- Prioritizing our relationship cultivates love.
My conformity to a set of rules does not reveal that I have character. It is freedom that displays my character.
- We cannot cultivate Kingdom if we fight about rules.
- We cannot cultivate an environment of love with rules.
- When rules are high, love is low. When love is high there is really no need for rules. This is referred to as a culture of honor.
- Sin is offensive, but being offended is neither a spiritual gift nor a fruit of the Spirit.
- How do we live together if I can’t punish you? How does the Kingdom of heaven work if I can’t punish you? One of the answers is repentance. Do we really understand it?
The idea that I can grow our relationship through punishment will not work. The only thing that works is when I practice true repentance. Repentance is when I take responsibility and address everybody that is affected by my sin. I clean up my mess and then put on the fruit to restore the relationship.
Repentance is a gift – it is required. Repentance leads to restoration. When people are hurt, they might feel: “I don’t care if you cry – I care if you change.” What is broken? What needs to be fixed? Your crying is not repentance. Repentance means we need to change our ways. In a place of love and freedom, you find repentance. People are not looking for your confession or your tears – they are looking for the love that God has given to us. Especially towards people who fail and make mistakes.