Q. Just recently we discovered that a long-time member of our para-church ministry has begun a romantic relationship with another member (both are single). They will be getting married soon but have already moved into the same house and are living together. We found this out at our annual convention when we discovered they were sharing a hotel room. Several members of the ministry (including us) were disturbed and we offered to provide another room but it was not accepted. Later we suggested they either get married now or live separately until the wedding. They said they’re not doing anything wrong and ignored our suggestion. What should we do?
A. In 1 Thes. 5:22 Paul cautioned us to avoid even the appearance of evil. This is especially true in public ministries where standards of behavior are higher. The Bible gives us Matt. 18:15-20 as a guide for situations like this. You’ve already spoken to them both privately and officially. This couple doesn’t go to your church but they do go to some church. The next step would be to ask to go with them and discuss the issue with elders from their church. But after all is said and done, no matter what the outcome, remember the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matt. 18:21-35) a powerful lesson on the need to forgive each other.