Offense is one of the biggest relationship-wreckers in the church today.
“He said what?”
“She did that?”
“I can’t believe they let me go through this!”
“How dare he do this to me!”
The temptation is to get as many people to ‘our side’ and tell them ‘our version’ of the story. This way, we can protect our image and reputation. The more, the better, so they say.
Yet the Bible gives us a way to deal with offenses and faults.
1. Go straight to the person.
Matthew 18:15. “If your brother sins against you,a go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.”
There’s no skirting the issue. Filipino culture has a natural aversion to confrontation. But there’s no other way to resolve it than meeting it head on. You wish you can wish it away, but that’ll never happen.
The critical thing is to keep it “just between the two of you.” No need to share “prayer requests”.
2. Find others who can help with the situation.
Matthew 18:16. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
My principle has always been “part of the problem; part of the solution.” If the person is not part of the problem nor can be part of the solution, I won’t bring them in the discussion. There’s no need to.
3. Just on very extreme cases…
Matthew 18:17. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
These circumstances would be rare and extreme. But it would be good to keep in mind because there are ‘wolves in sheep’s’ clothing.
Yet in all these, the Bible tells us to season our conversation with grace and to speak the truth in love.