4. “Where two or more are gathered … “
We say this to reassure ourselves that God hears our prayers or to justify why we don’t attend church.
The misapplications are endless. Examples: Where two or more are gathered ... there’s church, or God will agree with us in prayer, or the Holy Spirit is among us.
The context of this passage (Matthew 18:20) depicts the appropriate measures to be taken in administering church discipline—it’s not a description of Sunday’s service or Wednesday night’s prayer meeting.
It’s true that God is among us—always (see #2). It’s also true that church is more than just a few people hanging out, and God can still be with you if you are all alone.
5. “The Bible says don’t judge.”
We say this for obvious reasons—we don’t want anyone to call us out.
The problem, however, is that Jesus never says don’t hold each other in the Body of Christ accountable to truth and righteousness and holiness—He actually commands that we do, but with humility and integrity (Matthew 7:1-5)—we point fingers at “those sinners” outside the church, but excuse and brush under the rug the sins within.
We have a responsibility to call the speck out of our brothers’ and sisters’ eyes—this is love; but not to the detriment of recognizing the log in our own—this is integrity.
Let’s not hide our sin behind the misapplication of this statement and miss out on the grace God wants to show us through it.