In writing something else I remembered realizing that only one person in the New Testament was listed as being thrown out of church–a man who “had his father’s wife” in Corinth.
Several years ago I was thrown out of a church because the pastor believed I had a certain thought. He couldn’t name one instance of example when I had broken a rule. He couldn’t cite a single time when the supposed thought had been acted on or displayed in any way… by me. He did name several instances where someone ELSE had shown a certain tendency, but he said he discerned that I’d had the thought, so I was permanently put out of the church.
It was widely known that the man in Corinth was sleeping with his mom or stepmom. But how does anyone dare disfellowship someone for allegedly thinking something? Can a thought be proven? No. Not unless it’s acted on. I dare say that many people have had thoughts they wish they hadn’t had. God doesn’t banish us based on what we are tempted to do, but only what we act on. Sure, a man that looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. Jesus didn’t say that such a man should be stoned for adultery, nor did he say the woman should be stoned for whatever made him lust. Jesus was simply warning caution about not letting thoughts run wild, because if we think on certain things long enough, we might act on them, and it’s when we act on them that we sin. (Jas 1:13-15)