“Moreover, if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between him and you alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17)
Forgiving others does not require that we continue to place ourselves in precarious positions or associate with dangerous or unsafe people. Our willingness to forgive is not a blank check for others to sin against us with impunity. We must be wise enough to remove ourselves from injurious, damaging relationships, and we also must be responsible enough to hold those we deal with accountable to acceptable standards of behavior. This takes a tremendous amount of wisdom and grace.
"Go and tell him his fault"
"Take with you one or two more . . ."
"Tell it to the church . . ."
"Let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector."
Here, Jesus gives us a process to follow when a brother or sister sins against us, and we must be sure to follow every step. When we do not follow the order He prescribes, confusion ensues. But Jesus provides a clean path for us, and He expects us to walk in it. Surely, there will be offenses, and those offenses are meant to divide Christians and defeat God's plan and purpose. But if we will follow, Jesus will show us the Kingdom and the righteous way to deal with offenses. Jesus is the way.
Let's Pray - Lord, give me the Spirit of love and wisdom, and help me to know how to respond to the Spirit in every situation. I need You more than ever to show me the way I should go and how to respond wisely to offenses. Amen.