Friday, June 22, 2012
Healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation when a brother sins against you
By Mark Ellis
Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
(ANS) -- In one of the earliest teachings Jesus gave to the church, he taught about a process to find healing and reconciliation when a brother or sister sins against you.
In the Book of Matthew, chapter 18, Jesus said:
”If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.
“But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
Here Jesus gave some instructions about how to deal with a fellow believer who sins against us. Jesus did not say if your brother irritates or offends you in a minor way, that you confront them in this manner.
Pastor Ray Stedman noted that there is another word in the Christian life that covers irritations coming from difficult people: that word is forbearance. We are called to bear with one another. We put up with difficult people, the grace-growers around us, often without saying anything. Sometimes they drive us to our knees – if not almost crazy.
If the offense rises to the level of sin, you must take the initiative to go to the person privately, just the two of you. Don’t wait for the person to come to you. Often, they will never take the initiative. They may be blissfully unaware they’ve even hurt you.
One of our former senior pastors, Steve Krantz, warned in a sermon about “triangle-ing.” Triangle-ing is when you go to somebody else first, instead of directly to the person who sinned against you.
This is our human tendency, to go to somebody else and say, “Whoa, do you know what so and so did to me?” Then we unload the dump truck in their lap. Then it gets passes around.
Triangle-ing can quickly turn into gossip, which leads to dysfunctional families and dysfunctional churches. If we start telling other people, that in itself is a sin.
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This story is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of the ASSIST News Service or ASSIST Ministries.