VERSE OF THE DAY
Matthew 18:15 (New Living Translation)
“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.
If your brother or sister in God’s family does something wrong, go and tell them what they did wrong. Do this when you are alone with them. If they listen to you, then you have helped them to be your brother or sister again. You helped in the understanding of their wrong and they have accepted their offenses and realized their wrong offense
15 “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 word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses.Aug 14, 2019
What does the Bible say about disagreements with friends?
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” “A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.Apr 3, 2020
How do you handle conflict with unbelievers?
God’s Word helps us handle conflict in a godly way so He can use it for good:
1. Own it. If you’ve messed up, own it. Own it fully because the offense is against a Holy God—don’t explain it away. …
2. Speak Truth. If you’ve been hurt, go to the person humbly and talk tothem. Listen to them. …
3. Give grace. Be quick to forgive.
Mar 7, 2016
How do you confront someone in a godly manner?
Christians should handle confrontation with grace and truth, approaching their brothers and sisters using God’s Word, pointing them to Jesus, and forgiving them for any wrong committed. Confronting others should be a process of gentle correction filled with compassion as well as firmness.Oct 29, 2020
https://justdisciple.com › christian-c…
How Should Christians Handle Confrontation? The Biblical Answer
How did Jesus confront?
Jesus frequently entered into prophetic debate with the religious leaders who were trying to trap him and then accepted invitations to eat in their homes. Even on the cross, he connected to his enemies by asking his Father to forgive them.Oct 7, 2019
https://www.faithward.org › jesus-an…
How Did Jesus Deal with Conflict? | Faithward.org
What does God say about conflict?
Biblical Examples of Conflict Resolution
Perhaps the most well known passage on conflict resolution is Matthew 18:15-21. God clearly lays out the steps to take to deal with someone who has sinned against you. These build upon each other and should be followed in order.Oct 21, 2019
https://graceinmyspace.com › exam…
Examples of Biblical Conflict Resolution Activities
What Does Matthew 18:15 Mean? ►
“If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother.
Christ gave a beautiful lesson in humility and meekness, when He set a little child in the midst of His disciples, to exemplify what our Christian lives should be like. And there continues to be a great need for humility in the church today, but the cost of true humility is high.
Too often today we quickly react to the offences of others with caustic remarks.. or an unkind attitude against a brother or sister.. who has consciously or unconsciously offended us, hurt our feelings or sinned against us. Too often we gossip about it to others.. rather than seeking to address the issue in a godly and gracious way.
But the Bible has set out clear guidelines on how to deal with a situation where a brother or sister in Christ has sinned against us.. or caused us some harm or distress – and it is rooted in humility and grace. The Lord Jesus Christ was our perfect example of a truly humble man.. for He set aside His eternal glory to seek and to save that which was lost. Just like a caring Shepherd is happy to find his lost sheep, so the Lord Jesus always rejoices when the straying sinner turns away from sin and back to Himself.
In like manner, if a brother wrongs us it is important to address the issue, so as to prevent it from fostering into bitterness or resentment, but it should be carried out in humility and grace – and it should be addressed in private. The first important step in addressing such as issue it to go to the person privately and explain the fault or wrong-doing, while speaking the truth in love. And we are told that if he listens to you, you have won your brother.
No matter how we have been wronged it is important to follow the scriptural guidelines. First, we should go and correct a Christian brother in private.. but our words should be seasoned with salt, and our attitude should reflect a Christ-like humility; a godly gentleness and Spirit-filled patience – so that we are enabled to give and to receive correction in truth and in love.
However deeply we have been wronged we should never permit ungodly communication to proceed out of our mouth.. for a righteous word fitly spoken is like golden apples on a beautiful silver tray. A gracious correction or a gentle answer is more likely to divert an angry response.. for a wholesome word is like a tree of life – but words that are spoken in haste or harshly delivered stir up anger and strife.
May our lives reflect Christ’s gentle humility. May we learn to speak the truth in love to our brothers and sisters in Christ.. in a godly and biblical way – and may we bow down our ear to the wise words of correction that we may receive from others.. so that we may grow in grace and in a knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to His praise and glory.
Here’s a question I’m sure you’ve been asking yourself: Is the “real presence” really present in the biblical material?
The answer is “yes,” but we don’t find it where we might expect, either in the Gospel narratives of the Lord’s Supper in Matthew 26, Mark 14, or Luke 22, or in 1 Corinthians 11; rather it is here in the middle of Matthew 18. The declaration of the real presence of Jesus “where two or three are gathered” in his name, is the heart and soul of Matthew — both chapter 18 and the book as a whole.
Matthew 18:15-20 begins with an all too likely hypothetical situation: “If your brother sins against you….,” which is followed by a second hypothetical, “If your brother refuses to listen…” which bears the not-purely-hypothetical truth to all of us who have brothers. If you have a brother (or sister) he (or she) will sin against you sooner or later; this is the nature of brothers (and/or sisters).
The NRSV translates this opening phrase “If another member of the church sins against you….” On one level this translation is a little unsatisfying, as it favors inclusivity over intimacy; thinking of the sinner here as a brother, or sister, or close companion brings the need for resolution to an immediacy, a sense of importance that may be lost in thinking only generally of another “member of the church.” And, ironically, the perceived inclusivity of “member of the church” may actually serve to limit the application of Jesus’ teaching by focusing one on church-relationships, and not all relationships.
But it should also be noted that the community is in play, the word “church” (or better “assembly”) does follow in verse 17, and the tensions and trials which arise from the sins we commit against one another do have an impact not just on individual relationships, but on the community as a whole. At stake in this issue of sin, confrontation, repentance and forgiveness is the presence of God and what it means for us.
The flow of the passage is important to make note of, as there is movement from the individual to the communal. Where there is sin, Jesus says, confront it directly, one-to-one, face-to-face. If this does not solve the problem, include someone else in the conversation, and if all else fails take it to the community as a whole. From individual confrontation to communal attention, the movement of the passage is a progression that follows the development of the hypothetical conflict from its origins in individual matters to its conclusion at the community level. At each point along the way sin has implications for everyone involved.
The harmony of Jesus’ teaching about conflict and the role of witnesses with both Deuteronomistic and Levitical codes (see chapter 19:15ff in both books) is often noted. But there is something subtly different here. Jesus is not instructing us to bring witnesses to testify against our “brother” who has sinned against us, but to testify to the exchange between brother and sister.
This is not just about safety in numbers, but the safety of the numbers. The health and welfare of the community are part and parcel of the problem of sin between two of the community’s individual parts. At each point along the way, from the start as two individuals are together to the inclusion of witnesses and supporter to the involvement of the assembly as a whole, there is something else at stake.
Back, now, to the real presence of Christ. Following his teaching on the progression of the confrontation of sin in an attempt to reconcile, Jesus teaches that any sinner so committed to his/her position that they will refuse to listen even to the church is to be treated like “a Gentile and a tax collector.” It is ironic (and probably intentionally so) that this line follows the parable of the lost sheep and precedes the response to Peter’s question about how often one has to forgive a brother who sins (repeatedly) against you.
Jesus says, essentially, that being a member of the church means you have a responsibility. If your sheep gets lost you don’t look for an hour and call it quits. You get out there and find that sheep. If your brother sins against you seventy-seven times (another hypothetical certainty), that’s how many times you forgive him. And of course, we know from the Gospel of Matthew how Jesus treated the Gentiles and tax collectors.
Notice that Jesus follows this with talk about the power of agreement, saying that anything that is agreed upon by two on earth will be done for them by the Father in heaven. This is a promise. But notice as well that this is not where Jesus ends. Jesus says last, “where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” There is no question of agreement at this point. Jesus is present, really present, where two or three are gathered in the Divine Name, not just where two or three agree in Jesus’ name, but where two are three are gathered; presumably this includes the two who cannot listen to each other about a matter of sin, and how to handle it. Even there, perhaps especially there, Christ Jesus is present.
The subject matter of this passage could not be more fitting for Christian communities in every age, place, and situation. One of the things that plagues most Christian communities (and other communities no doubt) is the inability to handle confrontation, disagreement and our mutual accountability when it comes to sin. We simply don’t know how to live together, fight together, and stay together. And this is because we all of us — and not just our brother or sister — are sinners.
Jesus offers a simple guide to help us handle our sin and its consequences here. But far more importantly Jesus promises us that he is present, that his presence is real for us, when we are gathered in his name — both in agreement, and in sin. Within the context of the overarching narrative of Matthew, which is governed by the promised real presence of God, in the promise of child named Emmanuel, God With Us (1:23) and in this God’s parting assurance to us that he is with us always (28:20), this is the Good News for us who are members with one another of Christ’s church.
What does Matthew 18:15 mean?
In the previous verses, Jesus has warned His disciples about the grave seriousness of leading any of the other believers into sinfulness. He has also warned them not to despise or disrespect other believers, even ones who have gone astray. After all, God the Father’s will is that none of the believers in Jesus should perish or be eternally separated from Him (Matthew 18:10–14).
But what should the community of believers do if someone does fall into sin? How can they both take sinfulness seriously and attempt to bring the sinner back to faithfulness? Jesus gives a process for doing exactly that.
He begins by describing a scenario in which one among them sins. Some scholars question how the words “against you” should be read in this verse. Some earlier Greek manuscripts don’t have those two words, simply saying “If your brother sins.” Is Jesus talking about someone who sins only against another believer? Or someone who offends or does something disagreeable? Or is this someone who sins in any obviously and truly clear way? It’s reasonable that the same process should be applied in all cases.
If another believer in Jesus sins against us—or if we become aware of the clear and obvious sin of another Jesus-follower—Jesus insists that the first step is always to have a private conversation with the person. This is often the most effective step in helping anyone to recognize and repent from sin. However, it’s only likely to work if one approaches that person in childlike love and humility and without despising him or her. The goal is to keep this person as a brother or sister, not to shame or humiliate them.
If the result is not repentance, and we are still convinced of this person’s ongoing sin, it is time to carefully bring someone else into the conversation (Matthew 18:16).
Matthew 18:15–20 describes the process Jesus gives to the disciples for dealing with sin-related conflict among a group of believers. The first step is for the one who is wronged to go and speak privately with the one who has sinned in hopes of restoring the relationship. If the sinful person refuses to repent, the same wronged person should return with one or two others and then take the issue to the church or assembly. If repentance never happens, that person should be treated as an outsider. This is also the process Christians are expected to follow in cases of disagreements or other arguments: individually, then privately, then publicly.
Jesus uses two questions from the disciples to teach important lessons. The “greatest” in the kingdom is the one who humbles himself like a child. Temptation is unavoidable in earthly life, but it’s worth going to extremes to avoid falling for it. Even so, those who fall should not be hated and despised. God the Father values them highly and wants none of them to perish. In fact, Jesus lays out a clear, careful process to confront sin in others before removing them from the community. Christ also replies to Peter’s question about forgiveness with a parable. This story represents both God’s amazing forgiveness, and the way we ought to respond as Christians