Point It Out

Let’s read;

“If your brother or sister sins,
go and point out their fault,
just between the two of you.
If they listen to you, you have won them over.”

[Matthew 18:15]

 

‘Just between the two of you’………
Now the ellipsis here is extra long, because I’m trying to emphasise what that line says.

When we go to correct, our brother or sister, the bible doesn’t say ‘make a spectacle out of it’.
It doesn’t say, ‘talk about it with Jason and Jenny’. It doesn’t say ‘change the way you perceive them’.
And it doesn’t say ‘judge them and never speak to them again’.

So why then do we find ourselves doing all these things (plus much more, sometimes)?

Why is it that many of us find joy and excitement in further tearing down a brother or sister when they fall?
Why is it that we derive pleasure in letting the whole world know that Anna made a mistake?

Friend, if the bible tells us something, let’s do what it says, and lay aside all other things that our flesh wrongly leads us to do instead.

So, when we see a brother or sister doing something wrong, let us approach the situation in the way that the word of God tells us to – call them to the side, let it be only the two of you, and let them know their fault.
(When we read further in this passage, we’ll see that, yes, indeed, others may need to get involved if they don’t take to correction, however let’s do it this private way first. 
There’s a reason why it’s written in this order, right?)

Now let’s go back a little (forgive me for starting the expansion of this bible verse in the middle, but that part just stood out to me so much!)

So,
‘Go and point out their fault’.

When your brother or sister does something wrong, the bible says to point out their fault – let them know wrong is wrong.

This part of the verse actually speaks to each of us in two ways.

Number ONE: We have a role to play in being the pointer-outers…
Now in this day and age, we seem to have a culture of being too careful.
We don’t want to tread on anyone’s toes, so we don’t say anything about things that we know go against the word of God, but look, the bible tells us to Point. It. Out…
We need to forget ‘careful’, and start fulfilling God’s word more, and stop allowing our brothers and sisters to walk in the path of destruction!

(Side note: Don’t get it wrong, this doesn’t mean point out every single thing you deem is a problem, because that actually becomes based on your own opinion.
There’s also this whole thing about the appropriateness of certain things being dealt with by you and whether you have a relationship with that person or not, but this is where you pray and ask God to show you clearly, if you should be the one to speak to them, and how).

Many of us, in various situations are beginning to take the word of God that says ‘do not judge’ out of context, and we have twisted it to a point where we are no longer comfortable with saying anything about anything – just to be safe…

We all know when something is point blank, obviously wrong, and the bible is telling us to point this out. Why? Because we have a duty to help that person realise that it isn’t something that edifies the name of God.
In doing so, we help them to walk in the light, and turn away from what could lead them downhill.

Let’s rid ourselves of the attitude that turns a blind eye, because ‘it’s not me so it doesn’t concern me’, or the attitude that says, ‘let them do them, and let me stay in my lane’.
The bible says that heaven rejoices over a sinner who repents (Luke 15:7, 10), therefore this should tell us how important it is to correct one another appropriately, and bring each other away from sin.
Friends, let us realise that we have a responsibility to ensure the correct functioning and uprightness of the body of Christ at all times.
We therefore have to pluck up the courage to follow the prodding of the Holy Spirit when He is telling us to call our brother or sister aside to put them right. As mentioned in the side note, ask God if you’re the right person for the task, and then ask Him what to say, and how to say it, but please make sure you do it.

 

Number TWO: We can expect; if we are the ones doing something wrong; to be told that what we are doing is wrong! – We can expect to be corrected.
Though we are striving for it, not one of us is perfect and therefore not one of us is above correction.
So, if this word of God says that your brother or sister ought to point out your fault, then friend you need to have a humble heart to receive that word from them.
Don’t be stand-off-ish, and don’t have the attitude that no-one has a right to tell you of your faults. Rather, open your heart and ears, seek the right advice and direction, and be ‘won over’, as the bible describes is the goal of this in the first place.

“Listen to advice and accept discipline,
    and at the end you will be counted among the wise.”
[Proverbs 19:20]

“If you listen to constructive criticism,
    you will be at home among the wise.

If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself;
    but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.”
[Proverbs 15:31-32]

 

These two passages from Proverbs teach us both as a corrector, and receiver of correction, that it must be done in a constructive manner, and that an end result, is growth in wisdom and understanding. Therefore, let us not despise the love that comes from a brother or sister telling us when we are doing something wrong.

The bottom line is this; none of us would know what is and isn’t wrong, if we aren’t somehow informed, therefore in love, with compassion, and with a genuine heart to propel the gospel, let us do what the word of God instructs us to do – let us help one another, up, and away from sin.
Let us provide light and wisdom for one another, and let us enhance each other’s walk by speaking when we need to speak, following the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you.

 

 

‘Look Out For Me…Please’

The people around you, need you.
A tiny voice does cry out.
But if you don’t stop to ask them;
‘How are you?’,
And wait for the real answer to that question,
You will never actually know.

People can be so good at just pushing forward and getting on with life; upholding their responsibilities, maintaining their roles and most especially, smiling through it all despite the pain.
Don’t get me wrong, their strength to carry on is admirable, but sometimes, we really ought to make the extra effort to truly be the keeper of our brothers and sisters, and check on them to see how things are going.

Particularly those whom we haven’t heard from in a while, or those whom we know may have suffered a hardship, such as job loss, failure, broken relationship, or even loss of a loved one – we need to be there for them.
We need to be unselfish with our time and either pick up the phone, or even set up a physical date to have a good chit-chat with them, allowing them to release their well-kept and composed emotions!

The bible tells us in Romans 12:15 to rejoice when another rejoices, but also to weep when another weeps.
What we learn here is the ability to empathise with one another, but also, God is highlighting the importance of the fact that He doesn’t ever want anybody to deal with their problems or misfortune, or traumatic events alone.

He wants us right there by their side, using the Jesus in us to carry them through.
Of course God does His work from above too, but remember that we’re His hands and feet on earth? So it’s crucial that we make ourselves available for these people to physically feel Jesus through our care and looking out for them.

Don’t worry, sometimes you may not know what to say in response to what they share with you, and other times, a response may not even be required, but be confident in this; that the spirit of Jesus that lies within you, will be felt by them, and that is what matters most.
They need to be reminded of the love and strength that they can draw from Jesus, as often as possible. So don’t depend on what you can do as an individual, but rather trust that Jesus will do the work in them, to heal them bit by bit.

Ensure you pray before your conversation; that God will take over the entire encounter, and His Spirit of peace and love will fill the atmosphere between you and the brother/sister. Ask Him to direct your speech if any is required and ask that He will restore their faith in His word (if lost at all).

Also  pray for them after, and remember them consistently in prayer; that God will restore their joy, strength and hope, and that they will never feel alone.

Yes the talking is great for their healing process, as they are able to release more and more of that hurt, but our prayers; our intercession on their behalf will also reach the throne of mercy, because in being like Jesus, when our brothers and sisters are weak in their faith, we ought to be strong! Strong in the spirit, to pray for them and speak to God on their behalf to restore their hope, faith and trust in the Lord God Almighty.

I know sometimes we don’t want to approach people when we see them seeming ‘okay’, because we don’t want to take their smile away and remind them of the pain, but isn’t it better to make sure that their smile is really a smile, rather than a mask?

Our brothers and sisters will surely heal, because the stripes (wounds) of Jesus have that power! – (Isaiah 53:5) And the word of God also promises to heal broken hearts in Psalm 147:3.
But we have a part to play in it too; we must make sure that we encourage their hearts to be open to God; not resenting God, and truly receptive of God’s word that says;

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
[Jeremiah 29:11]

Let’s be our siblings’ keepers – they need us.

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God bless you.