Apr 6, 2006

when brothers disagree

Alan Rouse causes my brain (or whatever that pea-sized-thinking-thing is) to hurt! His current post seeks a method to reconcile differences between Christians, and between different congregations. This post is basically an extension of my comments on his post.

Our conflicting brothers guide is found in Mat. 18:15-17 (ESV):

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. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of the two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
These verses reflect the biblical process for resolving conflicts between brethren, but care must be taken to insure that following this process doesn't generate additional problems that end up worse than the original. If I honestly, though unjustly, perceive a sin has been committed against me, and I roundup some of my biased friends to confront the "sinner" as witnesses, and my biased friends deem the evidence to be weighted in my favor, this would be unfair. It would be unfair even if the brother was actually guilty as charged. Imagine the consequences if this Christian charged with sinning against his brother is innocent, yet because of tainted testimony he is suddenly treated by the church as a "tax collector."

We pride ourselves in conforming our thoughts to Gods' Word, but often the scriptures are twisted just enough to fit our way of thinking. If the brother in the previous paragraph was honest about solving the problem with his brother, he would seek unbiased brothers/sisters to establish evidence that would be fair to all concerned.

It's difficult to believe a Christian could not find it in his/her heart to forgive another Christian who sinned against him; whether the sin was actual, or perceived...but it happens.

I wonder if Jesus forgave those who sinned against him?


L.E.Meredith said...

Brother Larry
I don’t believe Jesus was saying form a conspiracy to punish a brother you disagree with if you were to do that you would be worse than the accused. I believe you would have to have biblical proof on your side.
Matt: 18 15: Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16: But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17: And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

As a matter of fact I believe the advise is just the opposite . Don’t treat your brother unfairly . Try your best to convince him of the trespass with all the witnesses you can manage before you treat him as an enemy. We are commanded to love and forgive, but we are not commanded to associate with those who trespass against us. The wipe the dust off your feet thing.
God Bless you

Larry said...

One thing for certain; before we grab our witnesses and seek out the one "sinning against us," we need to look intently in the mirror to make sure we don't have a 2X4 sticking out of our eye before we corral another Christian brother and accuse him.

Perhaps after considerable thought and a lot of prayer we may just decide to treat the brother who we perceive to have sinned against us in a forgiving manner. Often a brother is sorry for his actions and if he is treated kindly and lovingly, who knows, with Gods' help he just may see the light.....and you have gained a brother without firing a shot!

There is always the time when a brother acts absolutely awful, and the church is hurting because of his actions; now grab your witnesses and confront the brother.