Mike is a returning member of the congregation. Alienated by internal conflict and backbiting, he went elsewhere for more than ten years. Several months after becoming a regular in Sunday morning worship attendance, Mike joined the Monday evening Bible Study Class.
As a mechanic, Mike provides services for some of his classmates. Over the course of several months, he found that their ethics outside of class did not match their professed faith in class. This disturbed him.
Mike dropped away from Bible study. When summer came, he ceased attending worship. After about six months, however, he returned. Without naming names, he shared his concerns with the pastor. Although old wounds had been reopened by his recent experiences of hypocrisy within the household of faith, Mike knew he needed the church.
After considering biblical teachings about discipline within the church, Mike realized he had a responsibility to speak directly with those who had offended him. By sharing his concerns in an attitude of humility and gentleness, he might be able to help his brothers and sisters in Christ. This would be difficult, of course. In order to approach his customers as a brother rather than as an accuser or judge, he first had to acknowledge the ways in which he had broken covenant with God and the church. Mike was on his way to fulfilling the law of Christ by bearing the burdens of others within a Spirit-led Christian community.