Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
— 1 Corinthians 5: 3-5, Acts 5:11, NIV.
I am a sinner, and I shouldn’t have any part in God’s ministry, let alone leading any. But by God’s grace, God had passed over my sins through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, His Son.
In a ministry that I assist in leading in central Johor, Malaysia, I’ve heard reports of a fellow co-worker who reportedly lied, assaulted people, commit fraud against others, and repeatedly slander against the ministry and the NGO we run. It had caught my attention for 2 years now, and I’ve been repeatedly advising the leadership to let her go. But my repeated advice was ignored because she was a key person in the team. 2 years on, reports of it worsening caught my attention… To the point whereby it affected me in a very negative manner. I’ve got to do something.
I didn’t plan it, really. I’ve had a very bad quarrel with the chairperson with regards to the entire operation of the ministry and how it’s drifted away from its first love — its initial calling. Ever since, the ministry has been going downhill and I know God’s hand is working heavily against the ministry. Things are so bad, we do not even have money to pay our rent and utilities.
It’s not that we do not have money. It’s poor stewardship.
I’m deeply appalled by the state of internal distress that I lost my temper and raised my voice. And when the issue about that co-worker was raised again, I repeated my stance of two years ago — let her go.
“You tell her yourself!” The chairperson cried.
I went out and gathered everyone in the ministry. All co-workers, members, and children whom the ministry is caring for, gathered at the activities room. I got everyone to sit down in a circle with that co-worker seated separately. I then proceed to ask everyone to state the things that the co-worker had committed against them, be it lying, slandering, physical assault, mental assault, etc.
The children were scared. The room was silent.
“It’s okay, don’t you worry. Nothing will be done against you. Just be truthful,” I assured them.
One by one, they begin speaking up. And for every accusation brought up, I asked if there were witnesses before confirming the accusation.
I was very much taken aback. I didn’t dare to look up.
I got everyone to take out their Bibles to read Exodus 21:1-23:9. Then I questioned them, beginning from the youngest one (who is still in primary school). “What’s the penalty for theft?” “What’s the penalty for lying?” “What’s the penalty for poor stewardship?” “What’s the penalty for physical assault?” …
Fear gripped everyone in the room. Including myself.
“Very well. How much money did she steal within the last three months?” I asked.
Other co-worker listed the figures and again, I asked if there were witnesses to testify for this. I asked the same for other things that were brought to my attention. One by one, every one listed the damage that the co-worker inflicted upon the ministry. I multiplied four for every amount stolen. I kept the amount as it is if the item was damaged rather than stolen. I kept the amount as it is for utility wastage. I factored in unsold goods and wastages to poor stewardship and theft.
I separated items personally bought by the ministry and items that were donated by others.
To the children who were assaulted, I asked them to show me their wounds and asked if there were witnesses.
“Do you forgive her?” I asked.
“Very well. It’ll not be counted against you,” I said to the co-worker.
I taught everyone present, the importance of pardon and forgiveness. “Only the victim is able to forgive. We cannot forgive on behalf of others unless we have certain authority to represent them,” I added.
Counting the loss and the repayment, I openly asked another co-worker to google the minimum wage of Malaysia.
“RM 2000 per month is the minimum wage,” he said.
“Very well. Now, we need to count it in a way that she may repay us but still have money for her daily allowances,” I shared with them. “When we punish, we must learn to punish, with love.”
Fear gripped everyone, including myself. I didn’t know what I was saying…!
But God is present, personally, leading this. The power of our Lord Jesus Christ is working mightily in this.
“Read 1 Corinthians 5:11-13,” I requested. And they all read in unison.
“What do you think she must do?” I asked.
“She must go,” they replied.
“So, do you know what to do now?” I asked the co-worker.
I got her to draft a note testifying to her commitment to repay the ministry for the damages and to testify that she will never utter a word of slander to defame the ministry. She signed on it and we copied a copy. She packed her things.
“When we send her out, do we hate her? Or do we love her?” I asked the children.
“Love,” they replied.
“Why?” I added.
A girl flipped the Bible back to 1 Corinthians 5 and read, “Hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.”