If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.Matthew 18:15 NIV
How do you respond when a Christian brother or sister sins? Do you ignore it, thinking it is not your place to judge another believer? Do you talk about it with other people, excusing your gossip as sharing a prayer need? Or are you willing to follow Jesus’ direction in this passage?
Jesus tells us to take that person aside and point out their fault. But this is more than just telling them they are wrong. The desired outcome should be repentance and restoration. You go to them, not as their judge, but as a brother or sister who loves them and wants the best for them. Following Jesus’ instruction here is, at heart, an act of love. An act of love for the brother or sister who has sinned and for the body of Christ that is impacted by their sin.
Do not do this if you delight in pointing out people’s faults. That generally accomplishes little beyond pushing them further away. Follow this direction if you do it out of love for the other person (1 Cor. 16:14). And if you are willing, not just to point out their fault, but to seek repentance and restoration. This passage goes on to describe steps to take if your initial attempt is unsuccessful. But this is a crucial first step that should not be skipped. It is the loving thing to do.
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
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