And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 (NASB)
There is no law above the command to first love God and then love one another. Part of loving others is the willingness to confront them about sinful patterns that have developed in their lives. This command comes from the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 18.
I truly believe very few Christian women set out to get caught up in sin. Like Galatians 6 indicates, she is surprised to be there. She was caught unaware and didn’t see she was heading into dangerous territory. Much like a fish that takes the bait (thinking she is getting an afternoon snack) she gets caught on the hook. Despite her winding up on the hook of sin we must help her to understand it was the sinful desires of her heart that lead her there in the first place.
Sadly, when we see a Christian that has been lured into sin and taken the bait our usual response is to tell others how much of a sinner she is. I have to say we are such terrible offenders here! Why is it that we are more comfortable telling others over coffee about someone who has been caught up in sin, but we are unwilling to help her? Do we think we are so righteous it could never happen to us? Why do we prefer to condemn her rather than reach out to her?
Biblical confrontation is a sober obligation to a family member. While confrontation about sin may initially bring discomfort and even hurt feelings, you have to realize that is really okay. Sin hates exposure and the flesh of the fallen sister in Christ will tempt her to deflect the issues you bring to the table due to the strong desires of the sinful heart that lead her to rationalize and justify her actions.
It is necessary that we take the steps of confrontation and rebuke for there can be no reconciliation without admission of sin. We must also pursue the person for restoration with the church or the person they conflicted with. By its very nature being reconciled means that something has been torn apart! Perhaps the love relationship between a husband and wife, the fellowship of two good friends, or the unity of the church as a member causes division in the body. Personal sin brings consequences and when we begin to act as though we believe that is true only then will we take peacemaking seriously enough to go through the steps that lead to reconciliation.
Few people would describe the process of confrontation as a joyful one, but the reconciliation aspect that is to follow is truly one that inspires rejoicing. The reconciliation of a sinner to another person or to her church is a mirror of the gospel- Christ reconciled us to Himself.
Reconciliation is centered around bringing glory to God. When that is the goal, then personal feelings are irrelevant, and desires like revenge or self-righteousness are not in play. Our motives are pure and our heart is focused on how we can best represent Christ.
bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Colossians 3:13 (NASB)
In each of these steps of peacemaking, we are to pursue in love with care and concern keeping The Lord Jesus in view. He went after lost sinners, how can we not go after one of His own? Conflicts can be very painful to mediate but to allow a fellow Christian to languish outside our fellowship without being reconciled is wrong. We must pursue reconciliation for the sake of Christ.
Forgiveness must be sought and granted by all persons involved or we bring the cross of Christ to nothing. The Scriptures teach that as Christians we are to live at peace with everyone to the best of our ability (Rom. 12:18) and to love at all times.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 (NASB)