This post is an entry in the series “Jesus said it, but nobody is listening.” I’ll offer some of my thoughts, and then wait for you to share yours!
(Matthew 18:15) “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
Here is an archaic challenge for a modern society. Today with the ease of access to major media outlets and other sources of information, finding fault in something is not difficult to do. Even simpler is the ability to lash out and brandish spiteful status updates, blog posts, and other venues that provide instant release for a diatribe via your keyboard. It is even more worrisome that those closest to us are more susceptible to becoming victims of this abuse because the computer monitor provides a veil of protection not otherwise breeched in person or face to face with others. What then when the issue involves a professing Christian, a brother, or a sister in the faith?
- Someone has said something harmful
- A fellow believer has done something against you or your property
- You have suffered an injury to your character or person
Imagine the neighbor across the street backs into your car. You later find the damage to your vehicle and realize that it might have been him. He also professes to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Suddenly that temptation to slander his character, question his righteousness, and even your willingness to accept his profession of faith are all brought into question. All this transpires before you even have a chance to speak with him about the matter.
There is a saying that resentment is like setting yourself on fire and hoping others choke on the smoke. Its counterproductive to stew over things. Jesus goes on to give us some incentive for obedience when he reminds us that the brother or sister might listen to you when you come to them. In this you have gained them.
- Gaining someone involves earning trust and respect
- You have blessed them with an opportunity for reconciliation
- The bond with them is even greater because resolution is had in Christ
Today, the culture has a tendency to run amok when it is offended. People usually do not hesitate to spew off at the mouth now that we are all hidden behind a monitor with no immediate repercussions (like a sucker punch). Christians have an even greater responsibility to profess their witness of Christ as their King and Lord in these types of situations – but it seems like we tend to be the greatest offenders.
Jesus teaches us that resolution is most likely there, if we go get it. Most people when pressed are going to own up to their responsibility. Maybe the neighbor was afraid or unable to discuss the incident. There is no way to know unless you go and find out is there? Maybe that neighbor attends your assembly and breaks bread with you? How many people actually take their offenses to one another – or just complain to the pastor and others about the issue? Jesus said it, but nobody is listening.
What do you say? What is it about us that claim to be redeemed yet cannot address faults with one another as commanded by Jesus Christ? Is today’s church missing the point?
This post is part of an ongoing series of posts.