S (Scripture): Matthew 18:15 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault when the two of you are alone. If he listens to you, you have regained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others with you, so that at the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be established. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. If he refuses to listen to the church, treat him like a Gentile or a tax collector.”
O (Observation): This translation leaves off the phrase “against you” after the phrase “if your brother sins.” Apparently, some of the original manuscripts leave off that phrase “against you.” If this is the case, then this broadens the understanding of the application of this verse. This isn’t just about someone sinning against you. This is about someone sinning in general and about the responsibility of a fellow brother or sister in Christ reproving the other.
Of course, this nugget is followed by this: Matthew 18:21 Then Peter came to him and said, “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother who sins against me? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, I tell you, but seventy-seven times!”
Jesus recognizes that we can call one another to account, but also calls us to be ever ready to forgive those who sin against us.
Quite a conundrum, indeed.
A (Application): I’ve had people call me out: family, friends, acquaintances. They’ve done this for things I’ve said (or didn’t say) and done (or didn’t do).
Sometimes I’ve acquiesced to their viewpoint, quietly, and with a repentant mind and heart. Sometimes I’ve been downright ticked off at their arrogance for what they think is “right” or “truth.” Why is this?
When I think about times I’ve been corrected AND I’ve taken it well…that has come from people that have held a deep concern for me, born out of a healthy relationship. That INVITATION into someone’s life has been paramount in taking on that ability to be corrected in a positive manner.
When I haven’t taken it well is when the person comes from a position of arrogance. Someone claims to hold the exclusive truth, and in a seemingly condescending way, decided to share it with me. I do my best to give them the benefit of the doubt: they want to help. With this approach, I can tolerate almost anything someone says…almost.
But then, I recall, that I am to forgive my neighbor who sins against me…not 7 times, but 77 times!
From whom have you willingly received correction? From whom have you NOT received correction well?
What caused your responses??? Ego? A healthy relationship? A bad relationship?
P (Prayer): Lord, give us the mercy to invite people into our lives in a healthy way and give us a constructive way to guide one another. Amen.