By Doug Bell
15 ¶ “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosedfn in heaven.
19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”
Here we come to a section where Jesus gives us “Practical” advice on how to deal with a problem when a brother/sister has sinned against us. The Bible IS a practical book, and we would do well to follow it when we seek answers on how to resolve a break-
down in human relationships among fellow Christians.
Notice first and foremost vs.15 ¶ “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.”
Oh, if only we Christians would practice this very first step. There would be fewer angry, frustrated, and sinful reactions in the local church. And a lot Fewer people with hurt feelings, leaving the church or causing a church split!
Jesus said, “... go to the person and tell him his fault...” Note what he is NOT saying;
• Not call up your Mother, Sister, Girl-friend, etc., and talk about the person
• Not get on a social network and tell everyone what was done to you
• Not gossip, trash, or try to ‘get even’
This is such a novel idea in our present age. A person has said, done, or acted in a sinful way against us, we are to “go and talk to them” about the situation. And by doing it this way, the situation is kept ‘PRIVATE!’ No one else needs to know about it at this stage. And especially If it was something done innocently, or even unknowingly, it Should be kept private. So, “If he listens to you, you have gained (back) your brother.” But, if you have involved others (as in the things Not to do), you have exasperated the situation and now have caused even more problems that need to be worked through, including YOUR “sinful” handling of the problem.
Notice how God wants the situation to be handled, in a Christian manner. You are on your way to deal with the person who has sinned against you. At the same time the Holy Spirit is ‘dealing’ with the person who sinned against you. Again Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:
23 “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,
24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
Jesus tells us that ‘Christians loving one another’ is so important to he Father, even if you are in the middle of a Worship Service and the Holy Spirit pricks your conscience, you must leave the service and be First reconciled with your fellow Christian. In fact, your worship will not be acceptable to God UNTIL you seek forgiveness (Cf. Matt. 6:15).
Once again, you are on your way to confront the one who has sinned against you. Now look! The offender is now on his way to ask you to forgive him for his sin, because the Holy Spirit has done His work:
8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;
10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;
11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged
If we all were living the Christian Life in a way God desires:
• you are ‘going,’ to confront the sinner in private
• he will repentant and be on his way to meet you and ask forgiveness
• you meet each other halfway, he
confesses and you forgive him and
You are reconciled to each other!
There are further instructions (if the offender won’t listen to you when confronted with his sin), BUT MOST situations could be solved if we would simply believe Jesus and the Bible when we are having problems with a brother or sister in Christ. IF we are true Christians who love Jesus enough to “Obey His Commandments;” when we have a problem, we will then handle it ‘God’s Way.’
15 ¶ “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.”