Commands of Christ: 55

Deal with a brother who sins.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.  If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.  If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’  If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.  If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.  Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  Again, truly I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:15-20

I think this is one of the most ignored commands of Jesus.  So often it seems that within the church, we respond to sin in every way except this.  We will ignore it.  We will gossip about it.  We will avoid contact with the one who has sinned.

The most loving thing to do for someone in the church who has sinned, is to follow Jesus’ instructions.  This is for their sake, the sake of the church, and for God’s sake.  Everyone stands to lose if it is ignored or dealt with improperly.  It is a serious matter so we need to deal with it directly and decisively.  If possible we should limit disclosure of it to others.  The process is clear.

The attitude is important as well.  In Galatians 6:1 Paul tells us, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”

The purpose of doing this, is the joy and fellowship and restoration of the person who has sinned.  Let’s love one another deeply enough to do this for one another.