If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive (v.3).
Someone close to me (and to those I love) recently
made some poor decisions that affected us all, and
what followed wasn’t pretty. Pain. Grief. Suffering.
Those words capture the essence of the bitter sting
brought by foolish choices.
You’ve been there. We all have. Broken and strained
relationships can haunt our days with all the ragged
emotions and troubled thoughts that they foster.
Fortunately, Jesus provides some words of instruction
that can help us deal with this prickly issue. Let’s follow
along as He takes us from heartache to potential hope
1. Believers in Jesus will be tempted and will sin against
us (Luke 17:1). Although it is never pleasant or desired, our
friends and family will sin against us and fail us in this life.
2. We must lovingly confront the person who has sinned
against us (v.3). It’s not loving to ignore the offense and
simmer in our anger or to return the person’s attacks with
a volley of our own. We must show the radical love of
Jesus as we address the offense with the offender.
3. If the person genuinely repents, we must forgive him
(vv.3-4). True forgiveness can only be extended if the
person who has sinned against us repents. In his book
Jesus and the Gospels, theologian Craig Blomberg writes
that this means individuals must “change their behavior
rather than just apologize.” That’s real repentance.
But what should you do when the person who has
sinned against you refuses to repent? Jesus gives us a single word to take to
heart: obey (v.10). As we continue to deal with those who sin against us, we
can turn the person over to God and simply obey and follow His Word.
We can’t stop someone from making poor and foolish choices, but we can
make godly choices in what follows. —Tom Felten
Read Matthew 18:15
for more insight into how to confront a Christian who has offended you.
How did you respond recently to a believer in Jesus who sinned against
you? What will you do today to follow Jesus and His instruction as you
deal with this broken relationship?