As tempting as it is to just say “do whatever you want”, we are not serving another person’s good by doing that. If someone is deviating from God’s Word, if someone is moving away from the commands of Christ – whatever they may be – we serve their interests best by calling them back to faithfulness. As tempting as saying nothing may be, that is really just selfishness and cowardice on our part seeking a quiet life. If we really care about the good of others, we will want to call them back to faithfulness in Jesus even in the face of the relational strain that may cause us.
Every now and then, every pastor will feel the temptation to just let people do whatever they want. To teach what they know people want to hear. To setup the church in a way that people can, effectively, do and be affirmed in whatever they want.
These temptations usually roll round in the face of people not getting their way or not hearing something they wanted to hear (or hearing something they didn’t want to hear) and the church soon gets an earful. Perhaps someone said no to something they really wanted to do. Perhaps someone suggested they shouldn’t do something they currently are doing. Maybe it was something in a sermon. Perhaps it was something else altogether that you might not even know about. But what you know is they’re not happy.
The pull of a quiet life is strong under such circumstances. Nobody likes people being upset with them. Nobody likes people’s anger being directed at them. Nobody enjoys people flouncing out the door and insisting they are the problem. Wouldn’t life just be easier if we let people do whatever they want, think whatever they want, function however they want and just leave it with the Lord? As tempting as that is, the truth is it is not the right thing to do for number of reasons.
It is disobedient to Jesus.
The bottom line is, we shouldn’t take this approach because it is not what Jesus demands of his church. When people are in sin, scripture calls us to address it with them. When people want to do things (or won’t do things) that go against the testimony of scripture, we need to address it. Jesus commands us to enact church discipline for the sake of his glory and honour. He is not honoured when we do not approach the church in the way he would have us function as a church. He is not honoured when we allow those who profess to love Jesus to live and act in ways that do not bring honour and glory to him.
It doesn’t serve the individual.
In the end, as tempting as it is to just say ‘do whatever you want’, we are not serving another person’s good by doing that.