READ: Matthew 18:15-22
THOUGHT: These are Jesus’ commands for dealing with those who sin against us. These are meant for Christians (not unbelievers). These are meant for sins committed against you, not others. These are meant to resolve conflict in the context of the church, not the community at large. Notice that Jesus is telling you, you have been done wrong, to go to the person who did wrong to you. This is interesting right? Because so often, when we have been wronged, we believe that the person who sinned against us needs to come to us first, and apologize! Jesus says, no, you go to the one who hurt you. Most of the time, when someone wrongs us, we often do the opposite of what Jesus says. We usually turn away in hatred and resentment, or we seek revenge, or we engage in gossip about this person. And why? Because we feel that they are now our enemy. But Jesus commands us to pray for our enemies and to do good to them! Jesus tells us here that we should go to this person 1st, as difficult as that may be for us—we need to take the 1st step in going to them. Here is where it gets crazy….Then we should forgive the person as often as he or she needs it (18:21-22). This will create full healing of relationships.
This is Jesus’ genius design to end the sin cycle within relationships of believers, His children. It’s so beautiful. Because gossip is destructive. Hatred and revenge, they will kill and destroy. When someone wrongs us, even to the utmost degree of hurt, satan wants for you to take the 1st step in hating, gossiping or getting even—sin. Satan wants you to sin, in response to their sin! But Jesus says respond to their sin with prayer and going directly to them to talk to them. Feelings of hatred, revenge, or gossip may rise up within you, naturally—but we no longer follow our natural flesh or feelings, we let the Spirit of God and His Word lead our actions now.
Galatians 5:16-17 “16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.”
Just because someone sins against you, does not mean you should fall into sin also! You have the power to go to them 1st, and make it right. It is wise to consult God in prayer and in His Word before going to this person. Deliver your feelings of hurt to God and get your heart in right standing with Jesus before meeting with this person. If you have already messed up and gossiped about someone, or have “gotten back” at someone, go to God about it now. Tell God what is on your heart now, deliver these feelings to Him and then do what Jesus says by going to this person to make it right! For we are told in Isaiah 59:2 that our own sins have hidden God’s face from us so that He will not hear us!
Isaiah 59:1-4 “Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. 2 It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore. 3 Your hands are the hands of murderers, and your fingers are filthy with sin. Your lips are full of lies, and your mouth spews corruption.”
These commands from Jesus are given to bring us back into agreement—not only with each other, but also into agreement with Him. Our relationships with others, affect our hearts, and God is after our heart. Our relationships with those around us, affect our prayers, and this affects our relationship with Jesus!
Matthew 5:44 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”.
This will fully and completely heal relationships. With others and with God Almighty.
APPLY IT: When Jesus was giving this command, He was looking ahead to that future day when He would be present with His followers not in His human body, but through His Holy Spirit (After resurrection and ascension). In the body of believers, us, the church—the sincere agreement of 2 people in prayer is more powerful than the superficial or worldly agreement of thousands. Because Jesus Christ’s Holy Spirit is in us, with us and working in our hearts made right with God. Two or more believers, filled with the Holy Spirit, will pray according to God’s will, not their own—and thus, their requests will be granted. WOW! Let’s go!!!
Handling our problems God’s way, has an impact on our lives now and on our eternal life.
PRAY: This will create full healing of relationships. Think about when you get an open wound, a cut on your finger or if you have ever had a nasty scrape wound that is bleeding…you just want the open wound to be healed and gone! The wounds we hold in our heart actually bleed more painfully—but they can be healed to the point that they are gone completely. Jesus heals our wounds with His Word. Jesus just wants us to know Him personally. God tells us exactly what to do for all of our life problems, troubles, hurts, pains, and wounds. We have Jesus’ Words, and we have Jesus’ Holy Spirit inside of us.
How is your relationship with others? Has anyone sinned against you? Has anyone hurt you? How have you responded? How is your relationship with God? Just focus on the Lord as you answer these questions. He is so close to you. Talk to Him now.
*If you have any questions— I am here. We are here to answer questions and to lead you to the Lord by His instructions and Word. If you would just like to talk about the things of God, I am here :)