Friday, March 19, 2010

Beyond Mistakes

"If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. (Matthew 18:15 NAS)

Hmph! "Hmph! I've told him before, but he refused to listen. Now, he's getting his just deserts!"

I've heard this being whispered behind my back before, and I didn't like it. Everybody makes mistakes, and I am no exception. Like everyone else, I sometimes make wrong decisions, and that's nothing unusual. Making mistakes, to me, is part and parcel of life. What’s important is for me to get back on the right track once the mistake is realized and correct the wrong or abandon it completely to start anew.

All of us make mistakes. There is no need for us to remind others of their mistakes, nor any reason for us to snort at them when they fail. Mistakes are lessons in life everyone has to go through to learn how not to make the same mistakes again.

Unlike mistakes, however, sin is the deliberate act of disobeying God. In the Gospel, Jesus taught that if we see a brother sin, we should go and show him his fault in private, and if he listens to us, we have won the brother (Matthew 18:15). But if the brother does not listen, we are then to take one or two more with us, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses, every fact may be confirmed (Matthew 18:16).

Nowhere in the Bible was there any teaching that we should just warn the brother and leave him alone to bear the consequences, so that he may learn from his mistake. Neither was there any suggestion in the Bible that we should show contempt towards that brother who has failed to do what was right (2 Thessalonians 3:15), but has since repented and is now on the right track with God.

It is noble and good for us to love someone enough to want to warn him or her of mistakes or sins. It is, however, neither noble nor good to jeer at that someone for failing to heed advice. Jeering, ridiculing, despising and sneering at someone for his or her mistake is undermining, demeaning and showing contempt. Such behavior is not exemplary of the Christ who lives in us. We should therefore always test and examine ourselves to see if our motives for wanting to warn our brothers or sisters is in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Dear Lord, forgive us for giving up easily when it comes to warning our brothers and sisters about their sins, and for showing contempt towards them when they fail. Help us Lord to examine our motives when seeking to warn them, to do it out of love and not spite. Stir our hearts Lord that we may not take sin lightly to assume it is just another mistake, but instill in us to recognize sin for what it is and repent.

1 comment:

  1. Yes Edmond, relationship is a intricate matter where we ought to display love in spite of wrongs from others. Apart from praying for the person who wronged us, we need to take the right step to relate and communicate and be reconciled with the person. The hardest thing is to approach the person, but with the guidance of the Holy Spirit we can always pick up our courage and do what is right with the person whom we have trouble with.

    Yes, we need to reconcile in the biblical way but many times we irk and choose to leave the matter as it is. May God help us to be transparent and be willing vessel to make right what others have done wrong.




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