How to Handle Offenses in a Biblical Way
June 6, 2007 – revised June 14, 2010
From the Desk of: Pastor Lawrence A. Fox
Matthew 18:15-21 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. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
In handling offence that is directed at us, we have learned God’s prescribed method per Jesus’ teaching:
- Go to the individual that offended you alone/privately. Do not broadcast it to others.
- Make your approach in your conversation honestly; not vindictively or with anger.
- Reprove and/or rebuke the behavior or offense but do not be offensive while doing so.
- Seek to gain the brother or sister (reconcile and restore the relationship) rather than to take revenge.
- Be aware of oversensitivity and insensitivity on your own part and on the part of the person.
- Seek to grow in Spiritual Maturity:
- Be prayerful and sensitive in how we approach, respond to and deal with each situation.
- Be careful about how we treat one another. Seek to treat the other as you would wish to be treated.
- Do not vent or broadcast the issue to parties who are not involved.
- Ask for God’s grace to develop the Spiritual vision to see offenses coming and not be drawn into them;
- Pray for God’s grace to discern how to respond in a Godly way to specific situations and to specific people;
- Follow the steps outlined in Matt 18:
- Meet with the offender alone.
- Next, if the problem remains unresolved, take one or two with you as witnesses and judges “that every word may be established.” The integrity of witnesses and judges is important. Objective persons will either seek to bring the offender to repentance or even possibly to advise you that you were wrong, or possibly overly sensitive to offence.
- Always remember that the goal is not for you to win or get justice, but to “gain your brother”, by reconciling the relationship.
- If the matter is still unresolved, take it to the church. When the offence is of such a nature that it requires this serious measure we must remember that the goal is to “win the person” back to appropriate fellowship. Telling it to the church would involve taking the matter to spiritual leadership.
¨ Recognize that the goal of Christ is always about saving the lost sheep, rescuing the lost, but also about relieving the body (the Church) from accusation and offence.
¨ Remember that Christ is also concerned with weeding out impurity from the church and protecting the sheep. If one church member is allowed to go on offending, then this one person can ultimately have the effect of destroying the church.
¨ Christ taught that if we execute this principle, then we bind and loose in a spirit of unity and oneness, and can ask for anything and everything and receive from the Father.
DECLARATION: The Pastors and all connected with The Healer’s House Ministries, Inc. are in agreement with God, His Word, and His purpose, and with one another in invoking the promise of Matthew 18. Therefore, we come together in prayer in unity and in one accord:
In unity and in one accord in the spirit of Matthew 18, we ask the Father to give us the ability to:
In the Name of Jesus we ask to Father give us something to you – John 16:23
In the Name of Jesus we ask Jesus to do something for you – John 14:14
- Discern and walk in His perfect will regarding our relationships and our own responses and reactions.
- Walk in forgiveness and in love by His grace in Jesus Christ.
- Be faithful ministers of this gospel in every aspect of our lives so that we may see:
- Our loved ones come to repentance and salvation in Christ Jesus.
- Salvation come to our entire household.
- See the glory of God in manifestation as hindrances are removed and that we may see:
- Deliverance from the torment of the enemy in health, relationships, finances, etc.
- Healing of the Spirit, Soul and Body for the glory of God.
- Rightly and properly discern the body of Christ, both the local fellowship and the world wide body of Christ.
- Refuse to speak evil of others including our brethren and our leaders.
- Have respect for one another, see each other as Christ sees us so that we begin to understand the value of each person to the body as a whole.
- Bring ourselves into submission and obedience to all legitimate authority per Biblical instruction.