Wooh! Can you feel the heat in the room? Can you cut the tension in the air with a knife after watching this week’s episode of Preachers of L.A., “Truth Be Told”? The confrontation that defined this episode transpired between Bishop Ron Gibson and his wife, LaVette, and Bishop Noel Jones and his “friend,” Loretta.
As you’ll remember from last week, when the fellas met at Bishop Jones’ home to discuss his proposal for a city-wide outreach event, Bishop Ron shared his feelings of discomfort with the Noel Jones and Loretta’s relationship. The discomfort had to do with:
- The tenure of the relationship: 16 YEARS.
- The nature of the relationship. Is there some sort of indiscretion present?
- The effect of the relationship on “gangsta”-bishop’s ministerial reputation.
Understandably, Bishop Ron, not unlike Pastor Jay Haizlip, did not want to put his and his wife’s reputation at risk if there were some sexual indiscretions in the mix. They didn’t want to “co-sign” on that.
In this episode, Bishop Ron arranged a double-date with Bishop Noel. Seems like a nice enough idea. Only the meeting basically fell flat on its face. “Lady” Loretta took on Bishop Gibson in the boxing ring and there were no clear winners. In the scene between Noel Jones and Loretta preceding the date, we learned that Loretta typically goes to battle for Noel Jones and thus, on this particular occassion, he sicked his lady friend on Ron Gibson. This exposes an obvious lack of confrontation in Bishop Jones’ personality that is a recipe for disaster. But I’ll address that matter in a separate post…
Words flew–even cuss words on Loretta’s end. Bishop Ron called her a Jezabel (yes, I’ll address this in Part II). Loretta was condescending. Bishop Ron was incensed. Lady LaVette never got a word in edgewise. And Bishop Jones, well, he hardly even tried to say anything accept for calling The Gibsons busybodies. And again I say, there was no clear winner. No resolution at all was reached. But how does the Holy Writ command us to deal with confrontation? Hijacking sip-and-sees ain’t it. Turning dinner dates into boxing rings surely ain’t it. So let’s go to the Word.
Moreover if your brother sins against you, 1) go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 2) But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that “by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” 3) And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. 4) But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17)
Ultimately, we are called to a ministry of reconciliation.
Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation… (II Corinthians 5:18)
Now this doesn’t always mean that the brethren will resolve everything. However, it does mean that we should at least try to do so the right way.
So just to recap, this is the process of confrontation we should take according to Matthew 18:15-17:
- FIRST. Go to your brother/sister directly, one-on-one. If they hear you and you reach a resolution or understanding, awesome! If not, proceed to #2.
- SECOND. If the person doesn’t want to listen to you one-on-one, then take one or two trusted people with you and attempt to reconcile again. If it works, yay! If not, proceed to #3.
- THIRD. If they don’t want to listen to a couple/few of you, then confront them in front of your church or a similar setting. If they listen, praise the Lord! If not, proceed to #4.
- FOURTH. If the person doesn’t hear you after all that, then you’re to treat them as a heathen (sinner) and “refuse” to have anything to do with them. (And that’s New Testament!)
I think we can safely say that most of us are guilty of NOT following this biblical pattern for confrontation, at least not all of the time. I feel the show demonstrates that Bishop and First Lady Gibson attempted to follow this pattern. Yet ultimately, no resolution (as of yet) has been reached due 1) the lack of accountability in the relationship as well as 2) the non-descript nature of the relationship. How can we as the Church expect to come to godly resolutions when we don’t have open honesty as a foundation?
How do you think the bishops and their ladies are handling this touchy situation?
SEE RELATED: Open Letter to the Producers of Preachers of L.A.