If your brother sins, tell him.*
That sounds so judgmental. That sounds so critical. That sounds so invasive. After all, we say, who am I to tell anyone that they have messed up? My own life is so far from perfect.
Who better to sit down, quietly, away from everyone else, and say, “Here’s what I noticed. Here’s what it looks like. Here’s why I’m the last one to point fingers. But we’re doing what Jesus said to do.”
This is a quiet conversation, a humble conversation, a Jesus-righteous rather than self-righteous conversation. This is a conversation between two people. This is a conversation rooted in family relationship — not (necessarily) biological family, but the family which grows with God as the Dad. This is an invitation to a community of helping each other see what we can’t see ourselves and being grateful that others will do the same for us. The point is not to be critical, but to be clean.
This probably doesn’t mean going to six people and saying, “I have to talk to brother Dave about that horrible problem of his. Please pray that he will listen.” That approach often, though not always, is a blend of seeking affirmation, gossiping, and avoidance.
Instead, this a serious but informal interaction happening on a regular basis between people who care deeply about each other, expecting and encouraging the best from each other.
* Some of the Greek manuscripts, the early copies of the Bible say, “sins against you.” Most do not. As a result, some of our English translations say “against you,” some do not.
In a sense, it doesn’t matter. Any sin that disrupts your life, disrupts mine. The closer the community, the greater the disruption.
Tomorrow: We’ll look at how Jesus followed his own direction.