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If thy brother shall trespass against thee

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.

Matthew 18:15

Neglecting to use this principle has caused more issues in churches than just about anything else. We seem to tell everyone else about the problem first, before we go to main person.

Therefore, a simple relationship-repair job has now turned into a church-wide issue. Instead of believing the Lord and doing what he asks — and keeping it simple and local — we go to other members to ask their advice first. Is that a sin or wisdom?

Many seemingly big relationship issues are repaired simply with a little prayer, discretion, and trust in God’s instructions. God is telling us in this very short command that the whole church does not need to know about the trouble we might be having with a fellow member, nor do our key ‘advisors’ in most cases.

Many issues we have with our brothers or sisters are not real problems, and often it is just the way we have interpreted them.

And sometimes it is us. If we haven’t read or prayed for some time, we can end up with low frustration tolerance, where everything seems to bug us about certain people.

Also, we can have hidden umbrage, where we are all smiles on the outside, but don’t seem to have the humility and boldness or desire to address situations. We end up being two people; one, all smiles and niceness in front of our brothers and sisters, and another one when were are in private making defamatory remarks to those who will listen.

This umbrage can arise in ourselves, but also in families and cultures and not be addressed for years or even generations. Umbrage can be passed on to progeny, and I think the Lord would prefer us to pass on mercy and blessings that anything tasteless and unprofitable, regardless of how justified in the matter we might think ourselves.


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