by Brent Moody
Matthew 18:15-18 outlines exactly what we should do as Christians when we have been sinned against. It states, “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. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
It is critical when trying to solve an issue that we first approach the person who has wronged us and open up a channel of conversation with them. Sometimes, the person doesn’t even realize that they have offended you! Taking this step also keeps rumors and misconceptions from multiplying. Ephesians 4:26-27 instructs us to, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on our anger and give opportunity to the devil.” Rather than seeking revenge, God wants us to restore the relationship. We should communicate with the offender early on, as too much time might lend itself to the devil.
If someone refuses to communicate about the issue, the next step is to bring in two or three witnesses. This is not because we are trying to bring unnecessary attention to the situation, but because we ultimately want to find reconciliation. If this does not solve things, we bring it to the church, and lastly, if the offender still doesn’t repent, we assume him an unbeliever and not part of God’s fellowship.
Forgiveness is a critical part of the healing process. While it is ideal to forgive someone as soon as possible, it’s never too late. I have found that once I have extended forgiveness, I feel so much more at peace. It is an action (and attitude) that I never regret.