What can you say to a sinning brother or sister in Christ?
Speaking the Truth
It does a brother or sister no good at all when we ignore their serious sin issues. It’s not very loving at all to turn a blind eye to a fellow saint who is living in serious sin. We are commanded to always “speak the truth in love” (Eph 4:15), even if it hurts, because “Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with his tongue” (Prov 28:23). If you think your brother or sister in Christ is sinning, tell them. You might help them avoid God’s discipline, of which He does for every child He loves (Heb 12:6).
I believe that the church needs one another because we are accountable to one another and we need the love, the prayers, the support, but sometimes, the rebuke to help them recognize that what they are doing is sin and God will not overlook it. Will you be that courageous friend or brother or sister who will speak the truth in love and admonish them to stop it? They might not thank you….at least while they’re in this sin, but afterwards, they will see that you were motivate by your love for them, and not that you’re holier than they are.
Bring a Witness
Sometimes we’re not able, by ourselves, to help a brother or sister see the error of their way in openly sinning while being a member of the church, so we are told, by Jesus Christ, to bring someone else with us and speak to them. Jesus said “If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses” (Matt 18:15b-16), however, if “he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” (Matt 18:17). This too is done in love and hopefully, it won’t come to this point where someone must be disfellowshiped.
The most loving thing we can do for our brothers and sisters in Christ are to tell them the truth, even if the truth hurts. I would rather have the wounds of a friend, than the kisses of an enemy (Prov 27:6). What about you? Will you speak the truth in love to a sinning Christian? Will you pray for them and tell them they must repent? And if not, are you willing to take someone else with you to help restore this brother or sister in Christ? Clearly, this is only for sins that are serious like drug abuse, sexual immorality or other serious sins because we all sin, but we should all repent of it when we do.
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
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