2 Thessalonians 3:14-15
If any one refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not look on him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
Paul here strikes a balance which so many on the polarized “left” and “right” in the modern Church fail to strike. On the one hand, obedience to apostolic teaching is not optional, but necessary (contra certain self-appointed “dissenters” in the Church). Rejection of that teaching is rejection of Christ. On the other hand, the key to healing the Church is not (contra certain self-appointed inquisitors) to declare those whose obedience is weak to be “enemies of the Faith.” It is love, not polarization and power, that is at the heart of the apostolic gospel. On those rare occasions when the bishops say, “Have nothing to do” with someone who has rejected the Faith of Christ, this should be a cause for grief and prayer that the sinner will repent in shame for his sins, not a cause for gloating or factionalism. Only love can heal and only love can bring back those who are estranged.
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