It’s funny to hear Dwight Schrute explain how he uses the Amish technique of shunning people who are guilty of some kind of infraction. But something about “shunning” is not funny. It’s too much like the way people in the church treat others who have messed-up or fallen.
Christians don’t call it shunning. Other terms are used like, “holding them accountable,” or “stepping them down,” or even, “disfellowshipping them.” One church leader uses the verse, “godly sorrow produces repentance” to justify being flat-out mean to someone who has sinned. It sounds a lot like shunning.
Condemnation, guilt, and shame never produce righteous results
Condemnation actually pushes us further from God. But there is a sick side to our souls that actually wants it. We feel like we deserve it, and as the guilt and shame mount within us, we think it’s all a part of the process of getting back on track, and reinstating our good standing with God. But that’s not the gospel!
There are lots of scriptures that point out the fact that those who are in Christ are fully and permanently justified, and declared righteous. One of the best passages is the familiar story of Peter walking on the water, falling, and being rescued by Jesus.
So much has been said, preached, and written about this story, but one part of it is hardly ever referenced. It’s the part when Peter got back in the boat. There was no browbeating. No heavy sighs. No, “Peter, you’re all wet!” Here’s all we’re told,
And when [Jesus and Peter] got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:32–33)
We should be more like that
Somebody falls, Jesus saves them, they’re soaking wet from all their mistakes, but they’re alive and the storm is over! As they come back on board with us, we worship God for how He saved them because it reminds us of how he saved us. After all, we’ve all been wet at one time or another.