Guide If Your Brother Sins: Resolving Church Conflicts: A Study of Matthew 18:15-17

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I will also deal briefly about what you should do if you wrong someone else and what to do when someone you know has been wronged. In addition to this message, I have several messages on the church website on resolving conflicts and having harmonious relationships. Suppose someone in the church deliberately wronged you. It could be anything from gossip or telling half-truths about you to something extremely serious, such as committing adultery with your spouse or molesting one of your children. Non-legal does not mean that the wrong was not serious e.

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Also, it is not always easy to determine whether a wrong against you was intentional or unintentional. The most natural thing to do is to react emotionally.

Ken Sande and Kevin Johnson ibid. If you react in the flesh, you will either escape or attack, but you will not resolve the conflict and you will not grow in Christ. If you look to the Lord, you can take steps to make peace. By looking to the Lord, I mean that you should stop and ask Him to help you glorify and please Him in your thoughts, words, and deeds in dealing with the wrong you have suffered.

That should be your aim in every relational conflict. But as Paul goes on to say Eph. Also, as Jesus taught Matt. The cross is the basis for forgiveness and reconciliation with the one who wronged me.


As Paul taught 1 Cor. So your purpose is not to get even or to tear the other person apart so that you can prove that you were right.

Rather, it is to build him or her up in Christ. Jesus loved us and sacrificed Himself for us while we were yet sinners Eph. This does not mean that you must endure all wrongs against you without confronting the one who wronged you. Love seeks the highest good of the one loved, which sometimes means correcting the person or pointing out a blind spot that was the cause of the wrong. But your aim toward the one who wronged you should be to build him in Christ by showing him the love of Christ.

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But through all these wrongs, Joseph trusted in the sovereign goodness of God. Years later, he said to his brothers Gen. Perhaps you offended the person in the past, but never made it right. Or, perhaps you came across in an arrogant, abrasive, or self-serving manner. Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. Bitterness is a root. And, your root of bitterness will defile others, especially those who are closest to you.

Granted, you may need to go to a trusted, mature believer and get counsel on how to deal with the person who wronged you. But you should not talk to a lot of people to build your case. To correct those who are in sin, you need to be gentle, seeking to bring restoration, reconciliation, and healing Gal. There is always room to grow in the fruit of the Spirit Gal. We all need to grow in humility! We all need to depend on God more in prayer. Every conflict provides opportunities for growth in godliness.

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Before you go, pray for the right timing and setting. Pray for yourself, so that you will be gracious, gentle, and kind. Pray for the other person to be open to whatever the Lord wants to teach him or her in this situation. When you meet with the offender, begin by asking questions to make sure that you understand his or her perspective and feelings. Give the person the opportunity to repent and change without putting him down or backing him into a corner where he gets defensive.

Speak the truth, but always in love Eph.

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  7. Even though he had forgiven them, he said truthfully Gen. The other way to err is to speak the truth, but not in love. Love does not use abusive speech that puts down the other person. Love does not back the other person into a corner where he becomes defensive. Love seeks to build up the other person.

    If the offender verbally attacks, criticizes, or blames you, love does not return insult for insult, but gives a blessing instead 1 Pet. Depending on the magnitude of the offense against you, if the offender does not repent, you may need to take another brother or sister with you Matt. But throughout the process, your aim is never to win or prove that you were right, but rather to restore and be reconciled to the sinning person for the glory of God and the good of the other person. Paul rebukes the bickering Corinthian church 1 Cor.

    He asks rhetorically 1 Cor. Why not rather be defrauded? Will it help or hinder the furtherance of the gospel? Will it help or hinder being reconciled with my brother or sister in Christ? Sometimes, the offending person goes to another church where the leaders will not get involved and will not exercise church discipline. What should you do then? Not all would agree with me on this point, but if all avenues for Christian mediation have been pursued, there are times when it is permissible for a believer to take legal action against the other person who claims to be a believer, but who is denying his claim by his life.

    For example, if a businessman needs to be paid what he is owed so that he can keep his business going, he may need to sue one who has defrauded him.

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    Or if a man needs financial recompense so that he can provide for his family 1 Tim. Or if he sees a pattern of greed and dishonesty on the part of the one who wronged him and thinks that to let the offender off would allow him to go on hurting others and not face his sin; then, it may be right to take him to court.

    God provides civil government to uphold the law for the protection of the innocent and the punishment of evildoers Rom. If someone molests a child, to protect other children, he needs to be brought to justice. These may be others who know of the problem or it may include church leaders. The point is to strengthen the reproof and to cause the offender to realize the seriousness of the situation.


    The goal is to bring the sinner to repentance and restoration. And in last resort Jesus says: If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector Matthew The restoration process, however, needs to include training to help the person grow and avoid the sin in the future. We dare not fall into spiritual pride by thinking that we are better than a member who has fallen into sin.

    Paul says that our response to sin in a church member should be to mourn 1 Corinthians We need to be mindful that if we do not deal with those who refuse to repent of sin as the Lord commands, His church will soon blend in with the world and the salt will lose its savor. The Lord warns that He will come and remove our lampstand Revelation Consequently, we must practice biblical church discipline toward those who profess being Christians and who persist in sin.

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    And we need to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless Ephesians You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account.

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