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.

Matthew 18:15(HCSB)

Verse Thoughts

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.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, may the words of Christ dwell in me richly and help me to speak the truth in love in every situation that I may face. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be always acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer, in Whose name I pray, AMEN.

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