anonymity doesn’t belong in the church.

anonAnonymity doesn’t belong in the church. Christians don’t deal with one another behind smoke and mirrors.  Well, we shouldn’t anyways, even though it’s awfully tempting.

Whenever you’re a part of a visible church, you’re going to encounter sin. It happens when you gather a bunch of sinners together…surprise!  It feels safer to address this sin anonymously. Find someone you can trust to complain to, and tell them they didn’t hear it from you. Write an anonymous letter to the elders or pastor and name names. Just let out everything that’s bothering you without fear of retaliation or confrontation. Especially don’t worry about the 8th commandment – “you shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” It’s not like anyone can be upset with you if they don’t know who said it.

Those accusations and complaints are like vomiting. [image omitted]
You might feel a little better for doing it, but everyone you did it in front of will end up feeling a lot worse. That’s because it’s simply impossible to remove sin anonymously. It only gets stirred around.

An accusation without a name means that the accuser either doesn’t expect forgiveness, doesn’t want forgiveness, or isn’t offering forgiveness.

The thing is, Christians forgive each other. Saying you don’t expect forgiveness is saying you aren’t dealing with a Christian. As for saying you don’t want forgiveness? That’s called unbelief. Christians pray “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look at our sins, or deny our prayer because of them. We are neither worthy of the things for which we pray, nor have we deserved them, but we ask that He would give them all to us by grace, for we daily sin much and surely deserve nothing but punishment. So we too will sincerely forgive and gladly do good to those who sin against us.

Christians can’t be anonymous. After all, you are named in Baptism. As water was poured over you, combined with God’s Word, you were given the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  By giving you His own name, God has written yours in the book of life, for whoever is baptized into Christ has put on Christ (Galatians 3:27). Christians only deal with each other under that Name. There’s no other name by which we can be saved.

When your brother sins against you, go and tell your brother, that he might confess his sins and you would gain your brother. When you sin against your brother, go and confess your sins, both to him and to the Lord before your pastor. When Christians sin, they confess and forgive. When they are sinned against, they seek to offer that same forgiveness.We share the name we were given, because that name forgives all sins. Jesus.

Anonymously complaining only stirs sin around. Confession and absolution remove it completely.

accuser1Since Christians can only deal with each other by the Name we’ve been given, recognize the source of every anonymous accusation. Scripture says there is already a great accuser. His name is satan (Rev 12:10, Zech 3:1, etc.). He whispers in the ears of even the most faithful Christians, tempting us to sin. If you feel that temptation, recognize where it is coming from and resist it. If you are confronted with an anonymous critic, direct the anger where it belongs. God tells you who the accuser is. He also tells you that this same devil lies defeated at the foot of the very cross that won forgiveness for you and your neighbor. The devil’s accusations are empty and without power.

If I receive an anonymous letter, I throw it away unread. I suggest you do the same. The source of that letter is the devil. I don’t need to read anything he has to say.

Jesus anonIf someone comes to me seeking to complain or accuse, I point them to their neighbor who needs to hear this far more than I do. If they refuse to be named before their brother or sister in Christ, I’m sure not going to help stir the sin around. I’d much rather see it forgiven in the Name of Jesus.

anonymity doesn’t belong in the church.

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