We live in a culture that is accustomed to outrage. This culture of outrage affects us all. Do you see it in your life? Do you find yourself fuming over the injustices you experience? Do you silently seethe when someone insults you? Do you rant and rave when your offender is out of earshot?
Jesus tells Christians how he wants them to act when someone wrongs them. They should not respond to injustice by publicly blasting someone’s character. Jesus wants his followers to take the first step towards reconciliation with the wrongdoer, privately. He says, “Go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.”
How many relationships would still be intact if we had not resorted to gossip and passive-aggressive behavior? How many marriages would still be flourishing if we were honest and direct when our spouse did something wrong? Our connections with people would be better if we followed Jesus’ teaching.
This is not just one way to resolve conflicts. It’s the way God responds to us and our sin. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they hid, and God sought them out (Genesis 3). When Cain killed his brother, Abel, God tracked him down (Genesis 4). When Elijah was angry and despondent, God came to him in a gentle whisper and asked him pointedly: “What are you doing here?” (1 Kings 19:13). The Lord does not shy away from sin, but always tackles it head-on. God has been standing up to sin from the very beginning. God’s love could never ignore sin.
In fact, dealing with sin is why Jesus came to earth. When we sinned against God, God came to earth and became a man. Jesus faced our temptations head-on. He confronted sin in the lives of his friends and his enemies. The Son of Man came to seek and to save lost sinners (Luke 19:10). Ultimately, Jesus stood in our place–he suffered and died. Jesus experienced what we deserved for our sins. With his precious lifeblood, he cleansed us from all sins.
That kind of grace and mercy changes us and changes how we treat one another. Now when someone sins against us, instead of being shocked or outraged, we humbly—yet confidently—confront sin. When we confront sin with God’s Word, we are doing God’s will. One-on-one, we’re looking for a win. Not to win an argument, or to defeat an opponent, but to win our brother or sister over to repentance. What a blessing when we get to see—up, close, and personal—the power of God’s Word to convict and comfort! There is no greater joy than reconciliation! This is a moment that causes angels in heaven to rejoice (Luke 15:10). That’s a win-win.
Heavenly Father, purge my heart of all arrogance and sweep out all the sinful pride from my mind. When I am sinned against, fill my heart with mercy for sinners. Remind me of Christ’s mercy and move me to sincerely seek reconciliation. Amen.
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