How should a person behave when one was excommunicated from church?

In this article, I would like to answer the question that was addressed to me:

How should the excommunicated person by church behave?

We will see what the Bible says regarding this subject. With sadness in my heart, I want to tell you that we as a church also have such problems. From the beginning of the year we had to excommunicate 4 people, and this makes us sad; and I think that those people will read this article and will take a lesson. We had a meeting with all members of our church, fasted and prayed for each person who was a member of ”Buna Vestirea” church, but for some reason was excommunicated from the church.

So, what does this person have to do?

Break with sin

Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. (James 4:5-9)

The Scriptures were written through the Holy Spirit whom God gave us. God asks to apply discipline in the church toward all those who sin and to excommunicate from the church.

It is a tragedy when a person is excommunicated from the church. The Bible tells us that such a person must be delivered to Satan. Some people may think that this is the end, and that there may be no recovery. But the Bible tells us that the church must apply the discipline for the sake of that who sinned so that he may come to himself and return to God.

The first thing you must do if you were excommunicated from the church is to humble yourself to God and stop being angry with the church, the pastor, those who excommunicated you, those who revealed your sin. Do not be angry because they have done well to you and did not let you die in your sin. Submit to God and humble yourself to Him. You should take this effort because the devil trapped you in sin and you liked to sin. From the moment you were excommunicated, the devil wants to sink and immerse you in the sin you were caught in. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. How can you resist the devil?

Avoid the company of people who make you sin

At first you must break every connection with people that have brought you to these sins, avoid their company. It is written in the Bible, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!” And another passage says, ” He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” and ”Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals'”. It is probably because of these companies that you get to be enslaved by sin and excommunicated from church. Stop any relationship with those people.

Avoid places that lead you to sin

Maybe there are places that make you sin: if you are enslaved by drunkenness, then avoid the places where alcohol is consumed. If you are one who are caught in the sin of pornography, then probably you must take the computer out of your house and change your mobile phone to one from which you can just call. For you having a smartphone is a great temptation because you can watch pornography at any moment and will fall again.

Draw near to God

Draw near to God, and God will draw near to you. How to do this? Start studying the Scriptures, invest all your time in studying the Bible. Do not do this mechanically, read the Bible and seek to understand what is written in it. This is the way to draw near to God. Start applying everything you learn in your life. God will sanctify you if you will truly seek the face of God.

Begin to organize your prayer life, make a list of prayer needs and first pray for your spiritual state, for your spiritual growth. Then pray for other people, take heed in prayer, and in this way you will draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.

Another very important thing you must do is to go to worship services at the church you were excommunicated from. Sit on the back bench, listen to the message attentively and take heed at everything being preached. Pray and go to church every time. This will be a sign for the leaders who excommunicated you from the church because only they can reestablish you again in the church. Seeing that you come to church, they will understand that you want to draw near to God, and when the time comes to be reestablished, they will consider that you came to church during the period you were excommunicated. If you will not come, how can they know how your life was all this time?

Cleanse you hands and purify your heart

This means that you should repair everything you can. If you caused someone pain, go ask for forgiveness. If you stole something, go and give it back. If you borrowed money that you have not returned, go and return the debts. The repairing of the things you can repair means to cleanse your hands. Everything that was wrong you must totally exclude from your life. To purify your heart means to purify your mind. The mind is purified when it is renewed through the studying of the Holy Scriptures. Look to study the Bible and purify your mind. Probably, this will not be a process that will happen overnight. It can last for years, especially if you defiled your mind with serious sins as homosexuality or pornography. Your mind is so poisoned that it can take years to purify your mind. You can purify your mind through fasting, prayer and deep research of the Holy Scriptures. God can transform your mind through His Word.

Be miserable

If you are excommunicated from church, you must do this: be miserable, mourn and weep. Do not take easily the fact that you were excommunicated from church. You must be deeply saddened of the sin you have committed. This is the normal state of a person who repents of the sins he/she committed.

The King Ahab, when was confronted with his sin, repented, tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and fasted, and lay in sackcloth and went about despondently, sad and was miserable. He let his laughter be turned into mourning and his joy to gloom. The same thing has to be with you also. You do not have reasons to be happy or cheerful, because your spiritual state is very bad, and you must restore yourself. You must make the effort to be reestablished in the church of Christ.

Invest into your relationship with Christ, come to church and when you come to church do not insist in any way to communicate with the members of the church, because you know very well that according to the Scriptures, the members are not allowed to communicate with you from the moment that you were excommunicated from church. God doesn’t allow them to communicate with you just so that you would come to your senses. Sit on the back bench, listen to the sermon, pray and go home.

Ask to be reestablished in the church

When you think that you can ask for your reestablishment in the church, go to your pastors and ask them to be reestablished. This will not happen immediately, and you do not need to expect this to happen rapidly. When apostle Paul found out about the immorality in Corinth when someone had his father’s wife, he commanded to the church to excommunicate him urgently from church, and after this, it has been a long time since Paul told them to forgive and comfort him so that person might not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Therefore, since that person repented and was made sorrowful according to the will of God, he was forgiven and reestablished.

We also had an experience in the church, when a young boy was excommunicated and came to church in this period, sat on the back bench and all of us were glad, thinking that he can be reestablished. He came to me a few times and asked me when he can be reestablished. I brought his request before the church council, and we decided to reestablish him. But it hasn’t been long since that, and he sinned again. That is why we had to excommunicate him again. This saddened us very much, and now we think that we would be more cautious when someone requests his/her reestablishment in the church.

Whatever your sin is, the grace of God is great and mighty to take you out and purify of every sin. But there is a part of you which will not be simple. It will not be easy to resist the devil. But draw near to God, and God will draw near to you. Do this and make all the effort to be reestablished in the church of Jesus Christ to have salvation and eternal life in the Kingdom of God and not to have eternal death. May God help you and remind all things I have shared with you from the Word of God.

You can read the following article regarding this subject also:

What happens with unbelievers after death?

Read this article in Romanian.