Matthew 18: 15 “If your brother or sister[b] sins,[c] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[d] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
Have you been beaten up by these verses? Have you used them like a bludgeon?
It has happened to me. It hurt. Bad. Really bad. It blindsided me. One even skipped part one totally. But it wasn't that they thought I needed rebuking or correction that truly hurt.
It as that they misunderstood what Jesus meant by saying, "treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector."
That does NOT mean shutting that person out. It does NOT mean ejecting them from your fellowship. It means to pursue them, to bring them back to the fold in GRACE.
No one did that. We too often forget that last part about God wanting to reconcile us to Him. We are supposed to be bringing people back. The people Jesus came to save. He came to save us. You and me. At our worst. At our 'trying our best and failing'. Our 'misunderstood'. Us.
2 Corinthians 5:11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
Confront if you must. But prayerfully. Gently. With the goal of reconciliation.
Not one of us is righteous enough to beat another person with the Bible. No one deserves to be beaten with any verse, book or commandment. Not a sister or brother in Christ. Not an unbeliever. Not one. The only one who could chose instead to die for us. The only one who could have, justly, made us pay did the exact opposite. He paid for us. In blood.
The next time you see someone facing a challenge, be kind. The next time you see someone who appears to need correction, pray before speaking. Seek correction prayerfully and with an eye to reconciliation. Show grace.
People will screw up. We make a mess of things.
People will try too hard. And will be misunderstood.
People will hurt you. Show grace.
People will accuse you wrongly. Let God speak for you.
People will be people. Pray for them.
If you are struggling with whether or not someone needs correction, as prescribed above, ask yourself two questions: am I seeking reconciliation? am I showing grace?
Are you? If you are, and you have prayed about it, seek Godly counsel and proceed.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.