Why Do You Want Your Brother to Be Corrected?

In Matthew 18 we have a passage about how to deal with a “sinning brother”. Here is what the text says: 15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”  This isn’t new to many of us but I saw something that was new to me today. When I’ve thought about this passage in the past, I think I’ve thought most about the “brother” needing to be corrected because he was wrong. Then if he doesn’t repent you bring someone else along and then you tell the church. My viewpoint on this has generally been to look at the offender in a negative light. But yet the story Jesus tells right before this paragraph is of the lost sheep, and how much joy there is when the shepherd finds the one lost sheep.

I think the sinning brother is to be understood to be similar to the lost sheep. The attitude is to restore the “lost” brother out of love, just like the shepherd looks for the lost sheep. Our attitude in seeking “right” is one of love; not one of retribution or revenge. I’m amazed at how rich the bible is; always revealing new meanings and nuances, no matter how many times it’s been read. From now on when I read this passage, I will see it in light of the lost sheep story and I think I’ll have a different attitude toward why I want my brother to be corrected.



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