ok so this may be a hot temp topic....so fair warning...and a kind admonishment, let's play nice lol [as i think we always seem to :P]
to shun or not to shun....first, a definition: to avoid [deliberately and persistently], to banish or expel from a community or group.
now who shuns people? many do...Christians and non-Christians alike. we can find shunning [sometimes by different 'names'] in Roman Catholicism [excommunication and/or withholding of communion], The Amish, Various Protestant denominations, Muslims [both in 'not associating with 'infedels [unbelievers] and put out [of the community] those who break the sha'ria [religious law]] even some tribal religions practice it in one way,shape or form.
for this article we will concentrate on the Christian practice...
a quick look at The Word of God, on this topic, can produce seemingly mixed results....we can see where it says we are to live in the world but are not of the world. we see where we are told to beware of adverse interactions with unbelievers [and those who bring bad influence] but we can also see Jesus Christ Himself associating with both unbelievers [many] and believers who have fallen astray [peter at times] and we learn so much about the Love of God!
now some may say that the early practice of shunning was put in to place to keep the early church in line. then some may say the practice morphed in to clerical control over the body of believers. yet others may contend that it a legalistic practice that should not be done at all...
me? well i didn't really have my mind made up until i came across [years ago] a passage tucked away in my favorite Book of the Bible [Job]
most of us know the story int he book of Job. An upright Godly man, who God allows satan to attack [side fact: there is NO evidence at the time of the initial attach that Job was being punished for some sin...quite to the contrary, it says Job was an 'upright' man. sometimes, bad things happen to good people]. Job had vast wealth [in livestock, property, prestige etc] and a large family. He lost EVERYTHING....he falls in to despair...his faith is challenged and his friendships are strained [side fact: it was the YOUNG friend who gave the good advice....with age CAN come wisdom....some wisdom though, comes straight from God. we should never dismiss someones words simply due to their age
read that closely a few times....now let's break it down...
to him who is afflicted: pretty self evident. anyone who is having hard times, regardless of the cause[s]
kindness should be shown by his friends: kindness -defined as- the act of being warmhearted, considerate, humane, sympathetic. to forgive! so who are our friends? those we associate with. those we like to be around. those we look to for help in hard times. [especially our local Christian's]
Even though: this fact, that kindness should be shown is NOT an IF/Then statement. it's NOT IF you do certain things THEN you get certain things. It is simply a fact....kindness should be shown by the friends of those who are afflicted!
forsakes the fear of the Almighty: essentially, one who abandons God. one who turns away. one who falls in to sin [not fearing
so we see from this little gem, that when someone in the body of believers makes a mistake. s/he should be forgiven. should be encouraged. taught the errs of their way. not with an intimidating strong arm. not by forcing them out of the church. but by loving them!
now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying there should be no punishment for sin. I'm not sayin' that if a pastor embezzles funds from building project that s/he should keep being the pastor. I'm just saying, that they shouldn't be driven out...they shouldn't be shunned.
that's my take....what's yours?
vaya con Dios!
definitions were taken from the top definitions on a google search for the definition of the word. most came from the Princeton university website [i think that's what it was lol]