In Matthew Chapter 18,
how a sibling in Christ
is to handle a sinning brother
(or sister of the same account).
“If your brother sins against you,
go and tell him his fault
between you and him alone.
If he hears you,
you have gained your brother.
But if he will not hear,
take with you one or two more,
that ‘by the mouth of
two or three witnesses
every word may be established.’
And if he refuses to hear them,
tell it to the church.
But if he refuses
even to hear the church,
let him be to you
like a heathen and a tax collector.
“Assuredly, I say to you,
whatever you bind on earth
will be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth
will be loosed in heaven.
Again I say to you
that if two of you agree on earth
concerning anything that they ask,
it will be done for them
by My Father in heaven.
For where two or three
are gathered together in My name,
I am there in the midst of them.”
What a great reminder
on how we are to handle
a brother or sister in Christ,
when there is discord or doubt.
We must remember
that sin is not about us,
but rather it’s about a thought
or a deed that goes against God.
And, although we may be hurt
by the offense that took place,
when a person sins
it’s really an offense to God.
Also, if you do not know God,
then you do not know sin.
You only know what man has defined
to be good or bad.
And as the culture changes,
and depending on who is in charge,
humans create laws
based on a man thinks.
But the ways of God are always the same.
They do not change.
“The grass withers,
and the flower fades,
but the word of our God
will stand forever.”
God’s character is comprised
purely of light and love,
and sin is anything
that goes against Him.
Sin exists only in the dark.
You see, sin existed
before the downfall of man.
Sin existed when the first son of God
rebelled against Him -
when Lucifer desired
to be exalted high above God.
We must remember
that Satan is God’s creation.
For God to be God,
everything has to come from Him.
That includes the angels and demons
everything that exists
in both the physical
and spiritual realms.
Satan is not a human,
but an angel of darkness.
An spiritual being
who masquerades as light
in the earthly realm.
“He was the seal of perfection,
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
He was in Eden, the garden of God;
And every precious stone
was his covering:
The sardius, topaz, and diamond,
Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire,
turquoise, and emerald with gold.
The workmanship of his timbrels
and pipes was prepared for him
on the day of his creation.”
“He was the anointed cherub
and God established him;
He was on the holy mountain of God;
And he walked back and forth
in the midst of fiery stones.
He was perfect in his ways
from the day he was created,
Till iniquity was found in Him.”
Then the Lord responded to Him
with the only consequence
that could be given for such rebellion.
“How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne
above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount
of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above
the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’
Yet you shall be
brought down to Sheol,
To the lowest depths of the Pit.”
You see, “free will” means
there is always a chance
that God’s creation will not love Him
above everything else.
But God does not want robots.
He wants children who is willing
to keep His Word.
He wants a child who stays
and doesn’t run.
You see, evil does not come from God.
Evil comes from the intent
of a being’s heart.
When the creation decides
they are like the Creator,
they become an idol
and worship themselves.
That is why Satan has been given
authority over the earth realm,
at least until Gods appointed time
when He creates a New Earth and a New Heaven.
Satan attempts to tempt us
to worship the flesh,
rather than worshipping
the One True God out of love.
Satan knows very well -
a creation without salvation
only means death.
He knows he is going down,
and he wants to bring us to hell with him!
And this is why God puts us to the test.
It’s because of His unfailing love
and constant forgiveness
that God provides his children
with constant correction
in the purification process.
It’s only God’s love
through His faithful son, Jesus, that saves us!
And it’s only His blood makes us clean.
As the Spirit of God transforms our heart,
we become better and better
at submitting to Him.
That is why brothers and sisters in Christ
are told to address sin
with loving kindness
and a servant’s heart.
“If anyone is caught in any transgression,
you who are spiritual should restore him
in a spirit of gentleness.
Keep watch on yourself,
lest you too be tempted”
The goal is to approach
the person who is in sin, alone, in love,
and without condemnation.
If the person is unable
or unwilling to hear,
then we are told to gather
one or two more witnesses,
and establish the Word.
We are called to be brave.
To reach out to the person
and have the conversation.
We should not be talking
behind their back
because all this does is stir up strife
which creates a whole new offense
Our attitude in how we approach
is very important
for the success of the conversation.
A person should not feel
like they have to go on the defense.
They should be open and ready to listen
to another servant’s heart.
The ultimate goal
is for your brother or sister
to have reconciliation with the Lord
and not to wallow in the same sin.
Finding fault is not about
keeping someone in the dark.
It should be about
shedding light on blind spots,
and guess what - we all have them!
Often times, what I have found,
Is that a person might not even know
they have offended.
They may not even realize
they are operating in sin.
A simple conversation
could lead to quick clarification
of what was intended
by the offending comment or action.
I know it’s hard.
It’s easier said than done.
No one wants to approach a person on sin,
because it feels the opposite of love.
It feels like your judging them.
I have personally fallen into this trap!
Offense is often the Bait of Satan.
And all too many times,
I have gotten stuck, and then realize
I’m now offending God!
At first it can be
an uncomfortable position!
But it’s part of speaking the truth in love.
Forgiveness is also an extremely part!
It should be the immediate response!
The scripture says,
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another,
as God in Christ forgave you.”
Can you imagine
if God did not forgive?
I’m pretty sure we would all be screwed!
Now, if we go to the person
and they refuse to accept the Truth,
then we are told to gather
2 or 3 other witnesses
and go back to them
and address the sin again.
And then, if that does not work,
we are to bring the offense
to the whole congregation.
And ask them to help that person out.
Not once did Jesus say
to address the sin
of another church member
by going to the Pastor or the elders,
unless of course, they are the ones
walking in blindness.
Perhaps this practice
is in another place in scripture,
and I have just not run across it yet?
We need to remember
that as children of God we are all equal;
and under the blood of Christ, we are all priests!
Sin can entangle any one of us.
We have to stop putting people on pedestals.
This is often how teachers and pastors
Also, It’s very important
to remember the context
that Jesus is talking in.
Jesus is speaking
about how to handle lost sheep,
not how to handle wolves!
They are two very different seeds.
The goal is always to bring the sheep
back into the fold!
The goal is always
to bring light through peace.
“Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.”