Scripture Passage: Matthew 18:15
Broken relationships in the church are a very painful problem that disgraces the Father and discourages the Bride of Christ.
Adrian Rogers says, “There is nothing worse than a church without harmony and there is nothing better than a church with harmony.”
In Matthew 18, Jesus explains how to heal broken relationships. “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone...” (Matthew 18:15).
If he is a brother in Christ, we are members of the same body; harming him harms us. If he is lost, he needs our pity and prayers all the more; regardless, he is to be loved no matter what.
Galatians 6:1 says, “...if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” We have to ask ourselves: are we sinning in a similar way? Have we been praying for that person and setting a good example?
We don’t have the luxury of waiting for our trespasser to come to us; we go to him lovingly, privately, and humbly. If there is an opportunity for restoration, forgive him freely, fully, and finally. If there is no restoration, come back with fellow brothers or sisters in the faith. If he still refuses to listen, go before the church, as Matthew 18:17 instructs: “And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”
Excommunication is a heartbreaking last resort reserved only for those who are stubborn in their own ways, who will not hear the brother, the committee, or the church that has tried to speak truth in love. It is important that we love the unrepentant offender, but we do not let him poison the fellowship. We cannot let him hurt and distort the cause of Christ.
If someone has sinned against you, don’t make it a matter of gossip; go to the individual lovingly, humbly, and gently, after first considering yourself.