Thursday: The Restoration of Unity
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Why is reconciliation with an offended brother a prerequisite for acceptable worship? See Matt. 5:23-24.

Image © Standard Publishing from GoodSalt.com

Image © Standard Publishing from GoodSalt.com

There were different kinds of offerings brought to the altar, but Jesus was probably referring to an animal sacrificed so the sinner could receive divine forgiveness. Before we can obtain God’s pardon, however, we must make things right with others. Reconciliation requires a humble recognition of our faults. Without this attitude, how could we ask for God’s forgiveness?

What three steps should we follow if someone has hurt us? See Matt. 18:15-18.

Jesus tells us that, instead of talking about the offense with others, we should speak to the erring person, not to criticize him (or her) but to show him (or her) his (or her) fault and invite him (or her) to repent (Lev. 19:17). With a spirit of meekness and tender love, we should make every possible attempt to help him (or her) see his (or her) mistake, allowing him (or her) to repent and apologize. It is very important not to put him (or her) to shame by making his (or her) error public. That would make his (of her) recovery much more difficult.

Ideally, the private conversation will lead to repentance and reconciliation. However, if the offender does not admit his (or her) wrongdoing, nor is he (or she) willing to make things right, the next recourse is to take one or two witnesses (Deut. 19:15) in an effort to persuade the erring person. They should not be personally involved in the situation in order to be in a better position to call him (or her) to repentance. If the offender refuses to hear their counsel, they can bear witness to the efforts that have been made on his (or her) behalf.

Finally, and only if the first two attempts have failed, we should tell it to the church -not yet for a disciplinary action but for an ultimate appeal to lead to repentance. From the beginning, the whole process has a redemptive goal (Gal. 6:1).

We should remember that redemption is the best way to bring healing for everyone involved in a dispute. When someone has hurt us, why do we so often not follow the procedure that Jesus gave? How can we learn to not let a desire for revenge cloud our thinking?

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Thursday: The Restoration of Unity — 13 Comments

  1. Most times my offenders are the one to blow the trumpet on me to score cheap points and put me in a bad light amongst others. at such times it may be human to want to discuss with any listening ears without first consulting with offender.
    most times people become aware of the misunderstanding and refuse to ask you, rather they talk about it behind your back and all you hear are filters of what has happened which in most cases makes you look bad.

    Like(3)
    • I can certainly identify with your statements Anaba. Not only can there be offense, but also isolation and malice. When asked, one member said, they thought the offender had a poor prognosis, hence the reason, for her, behavior

      Like(0)
  2. Jesus' love for his children is undying therefore we shouldnt find it hard to forgive a brother who have wronged us in any way

    Like(11)
    • Good morning Hamilton,
      Would you be so incline to forgive someone if the offense to you was a rapist who offended your 5 year old loved one? It is very easy to say, forgive, difficult to do when we look at the scheme of things.
      Candace

      Like(1)
      • Very difficult indeed, but forgiveness cannot be accomplished by our will but by the Holy Spirit. We have scriptural examples of Joseph who forgave his brothers for selling him (Genesis 50:18-22) and Stephen Acts (7:59,60) who for gave those who stoned him as he was dying.
        With God all things are possible. It might take a while but somehow we have to overcome that pain and look at the cross and remember that Jesus died for every sin that will ever be committed even the very horrendous ones.

        Like(6)
  3. When we follow the steps outlined in the Bible for restoration , repentance, and reconciliation for an offence towards someone, or by us, we can never go wrong. We can be confident that the results will be in God's hands.

    Like(7)
  4. I am surprised that the lesson author didn’t use 2 Cor 5:18-20, “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God (NKJV).

    If we have been given “the ministry of reconciliation” concerning the world certainly that carries over into the church which is made up of sinners also. In fact, I think the members of the church might even need reconciliation more than many of those on the outside who basically don’t care.

    It seems to me that we need to be reconciled not only to God but to one another as well and I think a large part of the tree of life in Heaven will be for that purpose (Rev 22:2). Jesus is the tree of life just as He is the bread of life (Jn 6:35) and the river of living water (Jn 4:10; Jn 7:38; Eze 47; Rev 22:1) and the leaves are for healing today if we would only make use of gift.

    Like(3)
  5. I enjoy the last step that is not mentioned here: "But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector." I was contemplating this last portion and it was a hard pill for me to swallow. It seams so harsh! But then I reflected upon what our church does with "heathens". We meet their needs. We introduce the gospel to them as spiritual milk. We treat them with love. Nothing more powerful than God's love for reconciliation.

    Like(6)
  6. Most of the time it is the closest people who hurt you the most, which makes it even more difficult to grasp. ::sighs:: the flesh is sinful.

    Like(2)
  7. Forgiving someone who has wronged you is not human. In order for us to forgive and forget as the Lord requires us to do, we have to seriously ask for his intervention, this way he present opportunities to resolve the situation. Of ourselves we cannot accomplish anything remotely divine, but with God's help and promise of salvation and a better home away from this earth,I am willing to say sorry. The trials and temptations that I have faced and will continue to face, is more than enough for a lifetime. Our reward will be in heaven, and I look at forgiveness as one of the many ladders that will take me there. In Matthew 18:22, Jesus implores us to forgive seventy times seven. If we are heaven bound we will daily seek Jesus so that we can be more like him each day.He as promised, anything we ask in His name believing, will be granted to us. Inviting His Holy Spirit to dwell in us daily will eventually change how we receive and accept even our enemies.

    Like(3)
    • Great points Bev. We really can't do these things without Jesus.

      "When someone has hurt us, why do we so often not follow the procedure that Jesus gave?" Because we want justice for others but mercy for ourselves.

      Only by God's grace and the power of the Holy Spirit can we overcome this self-centeredness.

      Happy Sabbath all...

      Like(1)
  8. I do believe that restoration of unity begins in the individual heart. The Bible gives us much information of what that is. My favoriate is found in Hebrews 12:1-3.

    "Wherefore seeing we are also compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

    Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

    For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."

    How could you possiblly go to a person, church... for restoriation if you are not made refreshed, strong, and alert by Christ? Spending an hour a day with the Bible, Christ, prayer, reading, and meditation, is what the Bible is telling us in Hebrews 12:1-3. We can pray, Lord give us the mind of Jesus, make us holy as He is. May we prove we've been with Jesus, who is all our righteousness. Then He will raise us into a holy atmosphere where the rich current of His love will flow through us into others, maybe even those we have offended. Restoriation of unity now is more secure than it was before.

    Like(0)
  9. There are some people who say that Matthew 18: 15-17 is only for members of the SDA church and non-members have no right or standing to bring a grievance to the church in accordance with Matthew 18: 17
    I believe that Matthew 18 is God's plan to deal with sin in the church, and if a member trespasses against a non member, the matter needs to be dealt with, no matter what the source of the information.
    The church board may decide they do not have authority in this matter, or that the grievance is a perceived offense, but they should not dismiss it because the complaint comes from a non-member.
    The fact that a non-member wishes to bring a grievance to the church could be indication that the Holy Spirit is at work to purify the Church.

    Like(3)

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