Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Remaining Neutral

I recently ran across an account of the Carl Mosser family, who several years ago were murdered while traveling in Oklahoma, after being held hostage for several days.

According to the account, while getting gas at a little gas station on a rural road, Mr. Mosser jumped their captor, and begged the station owner to help him, and call the police. Instead, the station owner got his gun, and told all of them to leave, saying, “I don’t want any trouble around here.”

The terrified family were made to drive off with their assailant who had regained control of the situation. The next day the couple and their two children were found murdered, their bodies thrown into an abandoned well.

Again, according to the account, the killer was brought to trial and convicted, and the station owner was also tried and convicted for his failure to notify authorities and perhaps save the family’s life.

The moral to this is clear. While it is indeed better to not meddle in the affairs of others, sometimes it is unacceptable to stay “neutral.” Too often in our time people are unwilling to intervene for even the spiritual welfare of their brethren. This ought not to be so! “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20).

We have all attributed to Pontius Pilate a measure of moral cowardice in his treatment of Jesus. Though he knew Jesus to be innocent of any wrongdoing, he abdicated his responsibility to mete out justice, and allowed the mob to have their way. Matthew records his words, “When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, ‘I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it'” (Matthew 27:24).

Too often a man is teaching error, and we are unwilling to warn him of the consequence of his teaching. We exhibit moral cowardice, and their leavening influence continues unchecked, endangering both them and their hearers.

Too often a man is caught in sin, and we are unwilling to be seen as “judgmental”, refusing to warn him of the consequence of his behavior. Paul said that the rebellious should be disciplined, “Deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:5).

When it comes to sin and its consequences, we can not afford to be “neutral.” Such an attitude exhibits a criminal apathy regarding the welfare of others. As Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matthew 12:30).

Remember the words of the apostle Paul. “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1-2). No, we should not meddle in the affairs of others. But, if we love our brother in Christ, when we see him in sin we will do all we can to restore him to a right standing with His God.