How can I gently restore someone?
Jesus outlines a plan for us to help restore those who have gone stray…those caught in a trespass.
15 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 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. Matthew 18:15-17
- Meet privately V15 You could call or text to make an appointment, but it is critical to make this a face-to-face meeting! If you have not already confessed for your part of the conflict, do so first. Ask for forgiveness. Then humbly help them to see their sin. We could do this by asking questions or telling a story to help them get the point (Nathan and David in 2 Samuel 12:1-7). You want them to feel invited to talk, not being talked down to. Only share Scripture in a way that is applicable to their life.
- Go again with another V16 If the sinful behavior continues, you should go again. But first, ask if you can meet again and bring another person with you…ideally who has seen the sinful behavior. Don’t bring your best friend, (who will agree with you about everything) but someone who can act as an impartial mediator. Don’t appear to be “ganging up” against the person you are going to confront.
- Tell a church leader-V17a Only if the other person’s denies sin, but is still practicing sin.
- Treat as an unbeliever-V17b This doesn’t mean to avoid, condemn or talk about behind their back but to look for opportunity to evangelize them
We were visiting our son and his family recently…I asked him if he ever had to confront someone of their sin. He said yes, when in charge of a group of students in a summer program. He said yes it was difficult and yes, it didn’t go well, but it was necessary to deal with the issue—the sin.
Of all the aspects of becoming a peacemaker this is by far the most difficult…but as uncomfortable as even thinking about it may make us feel…It is important to try to turn someone from sin—
19 My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back, 20 he should know that the one who turns a sinner back from his wandering path will save that person’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20 NET
In the next post, we will deal with the question- Do I always need to go to someone and confront them?