What Should You Do If a Fellow Christian Sins Against You?Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
"If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back."
This might just be the most frequently disobeyed command of Jesus. Let me explain this rather audacious claim. Christians sin against each other all the time, in words and in deeds, in what we do and in what we fail to do. I expect you know what I mean, both in what you have experienced from other believers and, if you're honest, in what you've dished out. But when we are wronged by another, how often do we actually go in private to point out the offense so that we might be reconciled? Fifty percent of the time? Twenty percent? Ten percent? In my observation as a pastor, I'd estimate that people actually do what Jesus commands no more than ten percent of the time at most. In fact, we tend to do just about anything besides obeying the clear word of Jesus. We may try to ignore the offense. Or we harden our hearts against the offender. Or we gossip to others as a way to get even. Or we confront, but in public rather than in private. Or . . . you name it. The result is brokenness in friendships, families, churches, and even in our own hearts.
Therefore, if we want to experience the full-orbed wholeness of the kingdom of God, we should be bold to do what Jesus says. If someone wrongs you, go to that person and "point out the offense." Be direct. Be focused. And make sure you desire to reconcile and not to get revenge.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Do you tend to follow the directive of Jesus in this verse? Or not? What keeps you from going to those who have wronged you directly? What might help you to do what Jesus says in this verse? Are there people in your life right now who need a visit from you so that reconciliation might happen in your relationships?
PRAYER: Gracious Lord, I freely admit that I haven't obeyed this command. In fact, I've probably disobeyed it hundreds of times. I have let my discomfort with confrontation keep me from doing what you have told me to do. Forgive me, Lord.
The next time somebody wrongs me, help me to do the right thing, even if it's scary to me. Remind me of your instruction and, by your Spirit, give me the courage to obey.
Help your church, Lord, to put this instruction into practice. We experience so much bitterness and division because we fail to confront directly in order to reconcile. Bring healing to broken churches as your people learn to do what you have said. Amen.
A P.S. from Mark
If you're looking for more help on how to put Jesus' teaching into practice, check out a series I wrote for my website three years ago: What To Do When Someone Sins Against You: Guidance from the Master.