Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017


“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” (Matt. 5:23-24)

“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.” (Matt. 18:15)

There is something in common in these two paragraphs. There is estrangement between you and your brother. In the first instance, it is either your fault or at least your brother thinks it is, because “your brother has something against you.” When you attempt to draw near to God, your memory of this becomes very sharp, and you find that you cannot draw near to God until you are reconciled to your brother. The initiative of being reconciled rests upon you.

In the second instance, there is estrangement, and it is your brother’s fault. He has sinned against you. Again, the initiative of restoring your brother and being reconciled is on you. In both cases, the responsibility is yours. However, in this instance, there is specific direction on how to do this: “Go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.”

Every year I see many people who come to me because their brother has sinned against them. The gist of my counsel is, “Go to the brother and tell him his fault between you and him alone.” The problem is that Jesus’ teaching has been violated already, because the people came to me instead of to the brother.

If Christians would take this teaching seriously, they would be close to the Lord, would be very happy, and would not need most of the counsel they seek from others. Much of this “going to others” instead of speaking alone with the brother is an attempt to justify their own reasons for not being reconciled. They seek sympathy and endorsement. This causes people to choose up sides, people who should not know about the problem at all.

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