March 7, 2024

Matthew 18:15-20 (HCSB)
 Restoring a Brother
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he won’t listen, take one or two more with you, so that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every fact may be established. 17 If he pays no attention to them, tell the church. But if he doesn’t pay attention even to the church, let him be like an unbeliever and a tax collector to you. 18 I assure you: Whatever you bind on earth is already bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth is already loosed in heaven.19 Again, I assure you: If two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them.”

Dana Dorris
Have you ever read the book Boundaries? It’s great! In these passages, Jesus is trying to tell His disciples not to despise, hate, or bring someone into sin, especially believers. He’s led us here by helping us understand how to be humble, kind, and forgiving and how to keep our egos in check. Now, He gives us directions on how to guide someone out of a sinful situation. So, as harsh and awkward as it sounds, we are to first speak to that person alone, and if that fails, bring a few friends; if that fails, we are to separate ourselves from them (I believe He said as tax-collectors or pagans). Boundaries are good, but these are set only after what we’ve tried has failed. The lessons on humility and forgiveness are the keys to getting us through these conversations. It’s not so much what you have to say but how you say it. He’s quite clear on that. After all, why go to all the trouble to teach us those characteristics if we ignore them? We don’t throw stones and say it’s a representation of our Christianity-we have enough of those kinds of “christians” in the world already. Let’s try our best to do it His way.

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