I have sat through hundreds or maybe thousands of sermons and many were a call to war. We were exhorted to battle with the flesh, battle against the evil ruler of this world, and battle with those of the "world". I sometimes found that some sermons encouraged me to use the Bible as a weapon agains those who have sinned.
Make no mistake about it we as followers of Christ are called to war. We are called to battle our own sinful nature and the temptations this world brings our way.
BUT... How are we called to use the Bible in this war? Are we to use it in pointing out the sins of others? Are we to use it to beat each other over the head when we have a dispute? The answer to these questions are found, you guessed it, in the pages of the Bible.
How are we called to use the Bible in this war?
2 Timothy 3: 14-17 But don't let it faze you. Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers—why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother's milk! There's nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.
Notice: These verses focus on using the word for showing US the truth, exposing OUR rebellion, correcting OUR mistakes, training US to live God's way.
Are we to use it in pointing out the sins of others? Over and over again we are told in the New Testament to encourage one another. If you look at the times God rebuked people for their sins they were followers of His. In most cases He used those people to show the ones who were not His followers how to live and how to take correction. He did not call us to go up to someone who was outside of our fellowship and point out their sin to them. Within the fellowship we do have a responsibility to do that but only after we have considered our own sins and weaknesses.
Matthew 7: 1-5 "Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.
6 "Don't be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honor to God. Don't reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you're only being cute and inviting sacrilege.
Are we to use it to beat each other over the head when we have a dispute?
Matthew 5: 23-24 "This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.
Matthew 18: 15-17 "If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you've made a friend. If he won't listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won't listen, tell the church. If he won't listen to the church, you'll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God's forgiving love.
In Ephesians 6 it is clearly pointed out that we are in a war but it is not against flesh and blood.
Ephesians 6: 10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
Look people are going to be people and they will at some point do something to hurt you and break your trust. If you say you forgive them but use the Bible to beat them over the head even when they have come to their senses and apologized you condemn yourself by the very Word. It is especially important that we reconcile with those who have taken the steps to correct a wrong they have done. If we do not then it is like our prayers and our offerings are stuck on the offering waiting for us to make the move towards reconciliation.
Most often what keeps us from making that step is PRIDE. We would first have to admit we may have also contributed to the problem and second acknowledge we have sin in our life as well. Pride keeps us from doing both of those things.
In March of 2010 I hurt another person, their ministry and those who followed that person. I had to acknowledge what I did and I had to admit I have sin in my life. I then had to apologize and seek forgiveness. It was not an easy thing for me to do but I knew if I did not I would be like Israel and be sitting outside of the Holy of Holies and access to God's Mercy Seat.
Consider for a moment a person in your present or past that either has something against you or that you have used the Bible as a weapon to point out their sin. Let the Holy Spirit convict you of your part and then take the step to overcome your PRIDE and move toward reconciliation. Now as Dr. Laura would often say, "Go do the right thing".