Can You Handle the Truth?
Scripture Reading: Matthew 18:15-17
Key Verse: Luke 17:3-4
So watch yourselves.
“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”
If you feel led to be a “Simon” to someone, pointing out a fault of theirs, the Bible instructs us on a godly method. First, make sure it is God that is leading you. There is a fine line between rebuking a brother and judging a brother. The Bible strictly forbids the judging of another person (Matthew 7:1-5). Much prayer should be given to any situation that you feel is calling for a rebuke.
Second, Jesus tells us that we should go to that person privately. Talk to them face to face, as a loving and mercy-filled brother or sister in the Lord. Don’t approach them until your heart is full of God’s compassion and authentic concern!
Third, if the person resists your rebuke, don’t argue. Jesus said to go get one or two other Christ followers who will carefully and prayerfully approach this person with you. They can serve as witnesses to your opinions and the other person’s reaction. Jesus’ teaching assumes that there is a real need for the rebuke and not simply a petty disagreement that has little to do with biblical mandates.
Fourth, Jesus paints a further action to take if the person insists on ignoring the rebuke. At this point, the church itself is to be told of this situation. Here the entire body of Christ prays and pleads with this person to accept his rebuke and repent of his fault.
The “last resort” that Jesus mentioned is to treat this Christian person as a pagan or a tax collector. In other words, treat him as if he was outside the church’s blessings and care. All this is done with love and hope to bring this person back into full fellowship!
Father, if you call on me to be a ‘Simon,’ I pledge to follow the biblical model. In Jesus’ Name, amen.