Thursday, January 12, 2012

Know How Much You Hurt Me?

Matthew Griffiths was a student at Bristol in 1799-1800.  He was a “promising young man” and one that John Newton strongly recommended to Samuel Pearce his attending the Bristol Academy.  The details are as of yet unknown to me but Newton refers to Griffiths “pre-marital fornication” and his having been dismissed from the Academy. 

In response to hearing of these events Newton asks John Ryland, Jr., to “read this part of my letter, it will suffice to inform him that his conduct has hurt me much, because I loved him much; I shall mourn and pray for him in secret”. 

Do you think that what Newton is asking Ryland to do is correct?  Should we help those trapped in sin see how much their sin is hurting others?  It seems to me that this practice is one that is not present in many faith communities today.  Should it be restored? 

Keep in mind that Newton is not being vindictive.  He does not want this young man to know how much he has hurt him so that he can unnecessarily punish him.  Newton follows this request with a prayer for Griffiths:
The Lord grant that he may be humbled by what is past, and get strength, by the proof of his own weakness.  I mean, may the Lord pardon him, and lead him to a more simple dependence upon Himself who alone is able to keep us from falling, or to raise us when we are down.  (Wise Counsel, 391)

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