by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
(Chapter 10 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Justice)

We are going to find out what to do after the judging has been done. A transgression has been committed. The penalty has been paid, and judgment has been given. Now what are we to do? The child has been spanked. Perhaps the student has been given 50 demerits. Judgment is all over now, so what are we supposed to do?

1. We are not to publicize it. Revelation 12:10, "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night." This is talking about the Devil. The Devil is the accuser of the brethren.

One day it dawned on me that the Devil is not a false accuser. The Devil is accusing you right now before God, but he is not just a false accuser. He is a true accuser; he is telling the truth about you. Do you want to be like the Devil? If you accuse someone falsely, that is like the Devil; but if you accuse someone truly, that is also like the Devil! Unless it is in your area, you are of the Devil when you decide to accuse or judge someone.

That word, "accuser," is an interesting word. It means "speaking out loud against." If it is not in your area, you are not supposed to judge it. If it is in your area, you are not supposed to speak out loud about it. It is always wrong to spread bad about anybody unless it is concerning reference for a job, etc.

James 4:11, "Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge." "Speak not evil one of another" means "Do not scandalize." It means that you are not to tell a bunch of lies against somebody. You are not to tell something that you do not know is true. It also means that you are not to judge even when you know something is true, if it is outside your God-given area.

Why are we not to blab about those who commit sin? I will tell you why. It is because they have families who are innocent people. They have wives and children who do not need to live their lives with a whole nation knowing what happened. I am not covering up sin. I am just not for exposing sin. "Covering up sin is what you do if you do not punish in your area. Once the punishment is made, it is not covering up sin not to talk about it. To tell the whole world about what happened is only going to hurt children who have a right to grow up with a normal life. The family has a right not to be crucified!

You may ask, "But aren't we supposed to rebuke them before all?" I Timothy 5:17-20, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear."

This is not saying that anybody who commits a sin is supposed to be rebuked in front of the whole church! The sin spoken of here is committed by those who make an accusation without two witnesses. Those are the ones who are to be rebuked in front of them all, because they are trying to destroy innocent people without proof of anything. God does not intend for us to get up and rebuke everybody and expose their sins. If someone sins, let him come to the altar, get right with God, and try to do right. Then, let us try to help him do right! Do not talk about what he did!

Let me tell you how I do it. A man who worked for us committed what folks like to call "gross sin." I called him into my office and said, "I love you. I have had more than two people tell me that they witnessed your doing something that appeared to them to be a gross sin." (If one witness had come forward, I would not have called him in, because the Bible says I am not to receive the accusation unless I have two or more witnesses.) I said to him, "I need to ask you a question: Is it true?"

He said, "Yes, it is."

I said, "You know what that means. Why don't you go ahead and resign right now? I will personally help you. I will keep your family fed while you can find employment. I suggest that you leave the area. I promise you that I will be responsible to pay your salary for several months until you find a job." Then the man resigned to me in my office.

I am not going to tell you who he was, because it is none of your business! He was in my area of judgment! If we publicly rebuked everyone in the church who committed a sin since the last Sunday, we would never be able to end a service. Why don't we use some common sense?

A deacon of ours started smoking, so I called him in and said, "I have two people who said they saw you smoking down at Douglas Street and Hohman Avenue. Is it true?"

He said, "Yes, it is."

I said, "You know what that means. I suggest that you resign the deacon board."

On two or three occasions deacons have committed what we call "gross sin." I called those deacons in. If they admitted what they were accused of doing, I suggested that they resign the deacon board. I did not "blab" it around! Those deacons have lovely families who do not need to bear the stigma of their daddy's sin, just because some preacher thought he was supposed to blab everybody's sin in front of the whole church. That is the way I handle it. I am not going to get up and broadcast everybody's sins. I am not going to call my deacons together and reveal why that man resigned. This method is called "loving people." You say, "Brother Hyles, that is hiding sin." No, it is not! It is called "not exposing it." It is not hiding it! I would be hiding it if I did not call him into ask him if he did it. I did not hide it. I brought it out in the open and talked to him about it.

2. Balance the scale. Make the punishment equal to the crime. That is justice. When a person commits a crime, the scale is not balanced. If that person is not punished for that transgression, it is not justice, because the scale is still not balanced. If that person is overly punished, that is not justice either. So, what is justice? Justice is when someone commits a transgression, and the punishment is equivalent to the transgression.

3. Do not require him to pay more. Do not punish him more by refusing to speak to him. Do not punish more by branding him. There are probably five men who are among the best men in our church, and I know they served time in the penitentiary. Those men committed a crime and were given the punishment for their crime. They served their time. When I look at them, I look at them like I look at anybody else. The scale is balanced. If you have not committed a crime, then your scale is balanced. If they have committed a crime and paid for it, they have balanced their scales. The debt is paid. Do not "blacklist" them. Do not look down on them. The debt is paid!

We had a young man in our church who kissed a woman 29 years ago. He did not plan to kiss her. They both went to our church. They worked at the same place. They had a coffee break and were talking to each other. She was a beautiful woman, and he was a handsome man. In a moment of passion, he kissed her. As soon as he kissed her, he said, "I am sorry. Forgive me for what I have done."

He got in his car, rushed to the church, came to my office, and said, "Pastor, this is what I did. I am sorry. I do not know why I did it." He walked down the aisle the next Sunday night and asked God to forgive him. There are still some people who will not trust that man because of what he did. Twenty-nine years ago he slipped for just one moment. I am not saying you ought to let your daughter go steady with him. That becomes your area of judgment. If your daughter is going to have a date with someone, that becomes your area of judgment. You have a right to judge in that situation. If he applies for a job in your employment, you have a right to check his past, but outside of your area, it is not your business! Do not require him to pay more.

4. Forgive him as Jesus forgives. Ephesians 4:32, "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

We are to forgive like Jesus forgave. If we forgive like Jesus forgave, then we are also to forget, because God has also forgotten our sins. As deep as the sea, our sins have been separated from Him. That isn't all. When Jesus forgives us, He not only forgets, but He looks at us with 'justified forgiveness," as if we have never sinned at all. That means if you sinned against me, I am to forgive you and forget that you did it. As far as your record is concerned, you are supposed to be justified as though you never sinned against me.

You would be shocked how many people have come to my office and said, "Brother Hyles, I want to ask you to forgive me again for what I did to you three years ago." I did not even remember the incident about which they were talking. That is 'justified forgiveness." Once the transgression has been committed and the judgment has been executed, I am not to publicize it; I am to balance the scale, making the punishment equal to the crime; I am not to require them to pay more; and I am to forgive as Jesus forgives.

You are not going to be happy if you spend your life trying to decide what somebody outside your area of responsibility 15 supposed to do. You have no way of bringing it to a conclusion because it is not in an area where you are the judge. Not only are you going to hurt somebody else, but you are going to hurt yourself.

Nobody is as frustrated as people who know an answer but do not have the opportunity to give the answer. If you do not have the responsibility to judge, then stay out of that area. This may keep you from having a nervous breakdown. Do yourself a favor, and do not make judgments in an area that is outside the boundaries that God has given you.


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I am an old-fashioned preacher of the old-time religion, that has warmed this cold world's heart for two thousand years. Billy Sunday