Final Steps in Reconciliation
Verse 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’
Today we will look into the remaining steps of reconciling with a fellow believer that has sinned against us. Yesterday we talked about going by ourselves to talk with them about it and today we look at what we must do if the offender doesn’t take heed of what has been addressed with them.
These witnesses are to be carefully chosen. They aren’t chosen with the object of ganging up on the person but to join in the process of healing. And though this passage doesn’t say it, I’m sure Jesus would agree that praying over who to ask as a witness would be greatly beneficial. We must pay attention to the character of the people being chosen but also their relationship with God. We don’t ask someone that isn’t in close relationship with God because they may not be in possession of the needed wisdom to see to the truth of the situation. We need people who have Godly discernment to help us as witnesses.
When we have the witnesses chosen, we need to go to the offender, sooner rather than later, and once again address the sin. Remember that this isn’t about browbeating the person about their sin, it is wanting them in right standing with us and with God. To go in with a wrong attitude shows that we are doing it for the wrong reason. If our goal is to make them understand what they have done to us we have no right going in. This is one reason we need to have witnesses. We need to go in humbly and if we are in the wrong, the witnesses can reveal to us our sin. We need to remember that the main purpose for going through this is reconciliation of the offender and the offended and in turn bring the bride of Christ into pure Sabbath keeping praise.
Another thing to understand is that this won’t always work. There will be times that we need to take it to the next levels – going to the church leaders and if that doesn’t work our last resort is to treat them as a person of the world. Of course our goal should always be to reconcile before having to go this far but sometimes the other person isn’t repentant and it can’t be helped.
Before we leave this topic we need to take a look at it from the opposite direction. There will come times when we are the offenders rather than the offended. We are not perfect and will sin against a fellow believer at some point. So we need to think about how we are going to respond when someone comes to us using this formula that Jesus gave for reconciliation. Are we going to humbly ask forgiveness and work towards a reconciled relationship or be unrepentant?
Making It Personal
Have you ever had someone come to you and say you had sinned against them? What was your response? Are you doing your best to live at peace with other believers?
Making It Personal Kids
How do you feel when someone hurts you? How do you think others feel when you hurt them? What are some ways you need to change so that others don’t get hurt?
Father, forgive us for not loving other believers as You have called us to love. Please give us the wisdom to make better choices in our relationships. In Jesus’ name, amen.