Coddling Sinners

Ron Daly

To "coddle" is to treat indulgently. Coddling sinners not only can be, but it is disastrous to an individual or congregation. God does not give us any authority to provide an "escape hatch" for sinners, that is, people who sin and do not repent. Obviously, if a person repents of his sins and turns to God, he or she is not in the classification of a sinner. But, when a person persists in sin, any sin, and shows no evidence of repentance, the matter must be confronted!

Some of the Lord's people are more understanding toward sin and sinners than God is. Surely, God is merciful, understanding, and longsuffering with his children (Luke 6:36; Hebrews 4:14-16; 2 Peter 3:9). Yet, even our God eventually says, "Enough is enough!" (Hosea 4:17; Acts 17:30). It is never right to encourage wrong. It is never right to finance wrong. It is never right to cover up wrong. It is never right to just look the other way. According to God's word, sin has to be dealt with.

Sinners may fit several categories. There are transgressors in the area of morals (adulterers, homosexuals, pedophiles, rapists, and pornographers); speech (gossipers, liars, slanderers, blasphemers, and vulgar talkers); doctrine (false teachers, compromisers, and those who refrain from declaring God's whole counsel) are examples.

Most knowledgeable people wouldn't knowingly "coddle" sinners in the realm of morality. Those who commit adultery, homosexuality, pedophilia, rape, and read/publish pornography are obviously wrong and most people would say "We must not indulge their sins!" On the other hand individuals and congregations are increasingly "coddling" those who persistently sin by speech and doctrine. God wants us to be consistently right in our treatment of those who sin. We don't do ourselves or the sinner any good when we are passive and do little or nothing about his sin. We anger God, grieve the Spirit, trample the Christ, and hurt the cause when we, out of fear or favor, or the desire not to make people mad, overlook the obvious, and "coddle" the sinner when we should correct the sinner (2 Timothy 4:1-5; Matthew 18:15-17).