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If Your Brother Sins Against You

Grace, mercy and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

“If you are happy with our service, tell your friends; if you are not happy, please tell us.”

I’ve seen signs like this in several businesses over the years and it has always made me think. In fact, I do speak to the management quite often, usually thanking them for their service but sometimes letting them know that there is a problem. If they don’t know about it, they cannot take steps to correct the situation.

This always reminds me of Matthew 18:15-17:

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” (ESV)

These verses have a wide application and can be used in many facets of our lives. Certainly, it can be used in a business sense. In some of my secular jobs before I was ordained, I tried to practice this and encouraged my customers to always give me the opportunity to make things right. Think about it from a business owner’s perspective. There is a problem with the goods or services that you offer. Would you want your customers to talk amongst themselves and spread the news of your mistakes, intentional or not, throughout the whole town? Or, would you rather that they came to you with their problems and spoke to you directly? Once it spreads around town, there’s not much that can be done except damage control. But if the customer comes to you, you have the opportunity to explain and try to make it right.

In a marriage this is even more important. We all heard stories of mothers-in-law getting involved, the husband going and talking to his buddies or the wife with her co-workers. The disagreement grows and evolves until it becomes unforgivable, yet it could probably have been solved if only husband and wife had spoken to each other first rather than skipping the first step taking it to everyone else.

It would be good for all of us to keep Matthew 18 in mind when any unrest or disagreement comes about. In most Bibles it even begins with the title of: If Your Brother Sins Against You. Just as the Bible gives us guidance for every day of our lives, Jesus Himself gives us guidance in Matthew 18.

As Christians, this should guide our disagreements as we deal with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus tells us to forgive one another 77 times. He uses the Greek word ἑβδομηκοντάκις” (Matthew 18:22) which in this context means countless times!

So we go to our brother or sister in Christ with our compliant, one on one, as the Text reads: “alone”. We do this first and give them the opportunity to speak, and as Jesus says: If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. Note that the verse doesn’t say, if you assume he is not listening, it says: “But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you,” not to gang up on them but “that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.”

Jesus is telling us to do this not to gloss over things but to repair relationships; to regain or to prevent the loss of a brother or sister in Christ. If at any step in the process, they repent, then the situation is over and you have gained your brother or sister back. That is the goal! We should give this counsel to each other also. When you are approached with a complaint or concern about someone else ask if they have spoken to that person yet and then refer them to Matthew 18.

If you would like to discuss Matthew 18, or anything else, my door is always open.

Jesus always works with love first. That is what the Gospel is all about. May we all strive to act in such a way towards our brothers and sisters in Christ as well as to all mankind as we work together to spread the Gospel to all nations as we are called to do in the Great Commission!

Pastor K

 

Announcements 

Midweek School & Confirmation Classes

Midweek School and Confirmation classes will begin on Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Our theme this year is called: "The Heart of God"

Children from Pre-K through 4th grade are welcome to attend and participate. We look to seeing a bunch of old faces from years past and also looking forward to new faces!

Grade 5 and above will be with our pastor in Catechism classes where they will learn about the 6 chief parts of Christian doctrine (the Ten Commandments, the Apostles Creed, the Lord's Prayer, Holy Baptism, Confession and Holy Communion) as taught in Rev. Dr. Martin Luther' Small Catechism which was originally published in 1529. We will also be reading and studying the Bible to see where Luther's teachings originated. These are the same classes that our younger members take in order to become communicant members of our congregation.

For more information about the program and to pre-register your children, please call the church office at 940-872-1886.

Due to insurance regulations, all children need to be registered and a permission slip signed before they can ride in our church van.  


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