Kicking a Patient Out of Treatment
I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. Revelations 2:2
Inpatient treatment and sober housing facilities are designed to be places set apart for those struggling with addiction. The reason someone can stay sober while in treatment, when he (or she) can’t do so anywhere else, is that these are drug-free environments where all of the trappings of the using life are removed. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for someone to relapse, even while in treatment, bringing drugs into the facility. This is deadly to the sobriety and recovery of everyone and must be dealt with abruptly. It does represent a quandary though, in addressing the one who brought the drugs into the facility. Particularly if it’s a Christian organization, the perpetrator will often attempt to appeal to the ideals of mercy and forgiveness. You’re supposed to be Christians. Why can’t you give me a second chance? Jesus wouldn’t just kick me out!
At this point though, those managing the facility must recognize that this isn’t only about the individual. There’s a responsibility far beyond just the one. They’re responsible for the recovery environment of everyone else and as such, they must protect the sobriety of the whole. To that end, anyone who brings drugs into treatment or sober housing must go. Drugs in treatment or a sober housing facility are a cancer that will spread, and which absolutely cannot be tolerated.
This seems to be the tone of today’s passage in which Christ commended the Ephesian church. In the passage, Jesus recognized the church’s commitment to the truth. These Christians committed themselves to that which was good and right, and simply didn’t tolerate evil. The Ephesians purposefully examined the doctrine of those who would call themselves apostles and if they were found to be false, they were removed from the church. The Ephesians recognized their responsibility to the body and were willing to remove the individual if he embraced evil. They recognized nonsense and called it nonsense.
This isn’t always popular. As Christians, the truths we believe in are often seen as old-fashioned or archaic. Sometimes, others will even accuse us of not being Christ-like. Why can’t you just be more loving like Jesus? Jesus love though, wasn’t without truth. Even when he saved the adulterous woman from stoning by the Pharisees, he commanded the woman, go, and from now on sin no more (John 8:11). In the church, evil is not to be tolerated. As followers of Christ, we have a responsibility to protect his people from evil, false doctrine, and nonsense.