Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality. Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. — 1 Timothy 5:19-22
This entire section of chapter five helps us understand how church members relate to leaders in a church. We started the section by giving them double honor. But here, there is a new twist. If there is a charge against them, we move from double honor to double jeopardy. But there's a process. This means there is a vetting process for both choosing a spiritual leader and challenging one.
The challenge to a spiritual leader has three steps. First, if there is an issue, we need corroborating evidence from two to three observers. Second, if evidence exists, there should be a confrontation about the subject. Third, if the leader has no intention to change, the members go public with a rebuke. And the whole process has to be done without bias. Which I think would be very hard since church relationships can become so entangled. And then Paul advises Timothy to "go slow in selecting leaders and stay pure in the way you lead."
This is one of the things about any kind of leadership that many fail to understand. Leadership has different rules. Some enter the realm of leadership because they are secretly looking for things like respect, recognition, position, power, or pay. They may not say it or even know it because they have never wrestled with their motivations. And then, some get into it too quickly and bump into many of these issues, which reveals their real motivation was a desire for respect, recognition, position, power, or pay.
This is why in the following few verses, Paul says this:
The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden. — 1 Timothy 5:24-25
So the point is this — desire leadership. But if you do desire it, address any of your impure motivations. Because leadership plays by different rules, and you may not like these rules when they expose your impure desires that get addressed publically by other people.
ASK THIS: Do you have any impure desires in your leadership (consider roles you have leadership influence, i.e., husband, father, friend, superior.)
DO THIS: Acknowledge, confess, and seek direction for them.
PRAY THIS: God, help me be a better leader with the right motivations.
PLAY THIS: Spirit Lead Me.
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