By Colleen Donahue


Jesus anticipates what might arise between believers. He knows that while we are growing, changing, and becoming like Himself we will offend a brother or sister with whom we worship, work, or live with. It will either be intentional (and thus deliberate sin) or it will be unintentional. (Each of us can think back to times when we said or did something that someone took differently from what was our intention). And so in these next verses, Jesus gives us a procedure for what to do when a brother (fellow believer) "sins against us" or wrongs us in some way.


What Do We Do When Another Believer Wrongs Us ?

Studies continued from Matthew 18: 15-35


What to Do When We are Wronged By Another Believer - Step 1

Day 1- Is there anything that you can't seem to forget or get over that another has said or done? Has your character, person, or property been injured by another? When you look at the person do you keep hearing or seeing what he did? Is there a wall between you blocking what once was open fellowship? If you have answered "Yes" to any of these questions what is the first step that Jesus asks of us?
Matthew 18:15

Day 2- Depending on your Bible translation you are told to "go and tell", "go and show", "go and point out" his fault. If this step isn't taken what is most likely to happen?
Leviticus 19:17 / 1 John 2: 9,11

The word "go" means that YOU must take the initiative and seek that person out personally. Of course in Bible times Jesus didn't have to think about saying, "Don't phone, email, snail mail or send a currier." There is a back and forth communication that occurs when we are face to face which is missing when we write. Phoning or writing should be used only if it isn't possible to speak to someone in person. What we are seeking in this step is an explanation of his conduct. We already know our side of the story but do we really know his side of it?

Day 3- What should be our motivation for taking the time to understand?
Matthew 5:24 / 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

Day 4- It is HOW we do the telling or the showing that can make a difference to the settlement of the matter. As you read these verses write down the things YOU need to do as you admonish your brother or sister.
Galatians 6:1 / Ephesians 4:2 / Colossians 3: 13-14 / 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 / 2 Thessalonians 3:15

Day 5- Often a friendly, brotherly conversation will expose the whole truth of a matter. It will give the offender a chance to either explain his/her conduct or acknowledge his offense and make amends as needed. If that brother or sister is a person of understanding what will be true?
Proverbs 17:10 / Proverbs 25:12 / Proverbs 27:6

Day 6- If you or I, as the offended party, go into a meeting "hot headed" and ready to "give them a piece of our minds" rather than seek understanding first, what are we then guilty of?
Proverbs 18:2

If we are men and women of understanding how will we conduct ourselves?
Proverbs 17:27

Day 7- In the American court system there is a premise that "a man is innocent until he is proven guilty". As brothers and sisters in the body of Christ we are to go way beyond this because there is a higher law. Read these verses again.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

What is to be our attitude toward every fellow believer?
Philippians 2:3

Therefore we may want to say something like this...."You may not have been aware that when you said (fill in the blank) yesterday, I understood you to be saying (fill in the blank). It hurt me deeply and I want to understand what you were thinking when you said that."


"You may have forgotten your promise to do (fill in the blank), but I was expecting you to do what you said. I feel lied to, but I want to understand if there was a good reason for your failure to act."

Day 8- By phrasing our complaint similar to these two examples we give our brother or sister the "benefit of the doubt". For it is very possible that he/she did not mean the words or action as you took them. It gives the possibility of that person seeing their error and making it right. By speaking truthfully and peacefully with each other what do we prevent?
Ephesians 4: 25-27 (especially verse 27).

Day 9- If we "tell" or "show" our brother with the attitude that we already know what the intent of their heart was, what are we doing?
Romans 14:13 / 1 Corinthians 4:5 / James 4:12

This is exactly what Christ forbids. Why?
Matthew 7:1-2 / Romans 2:1

Day 10- What is the second important truth we are to see from Matthew 18:15 as it relates to step 1 in dealing with an offense?
Matthew 18:15b / Proverbs 25:9

Day 11- If we bypass the step of talking with the offender alone, the temptation will face us to talk with others. This is gossip and if told maliciously is slander. Once we fall into this sin, OUR offense may be much greater than our offender.
Leviticus 19:16 / Proverbs 26:22

Day 12- While a gossip reveals secrets, what is true of one that is trustworthy and faithful in spirit?
Proverbs 11:13

Day 13- What is our goal in protecting our brother or sister by going to them first with our complaint?
Proverbs 17:9 / Galatians 6:1 / 1 Peter 4:8

What to Do When We are Wronged By Another Believer - Step 2

Day 14- What do you do if you have gone to the offending brother or sister alone, shared with them the offense but found that they will not listen to you or acknowledge what has happened?
Matthew 18:16

Day 15- We should take some one or two persons (that are perhaps his or her friends) so that they will be more likely to listen. It could also be that WE are the ones that are wrong and not our brother or sister. This idea of having witnesses was not new. Jesus is suggesting a rule from Old Testament times.
Deuteronomy 19:15


What to Do When We are Wronged By Another Believer - Step 3

Day 16- If a brother or sister that has wronged you refuses to listen with other witnesses present then there is a third step to settle the matter and restore fellowship.
Matthew 18: 17a

Who is the church that must be told?
1 Corinthians 6:5

This might be a pastor, elder or other respected person in your church.

Day 17- What are we NOT to do?
1 Corinthians 6:1-7

What to Do When We are Wronged By Another Believer - Step 4

Day 18- It would be a sad affair to come this far and not have a settlement. God delights in our unity. We can do the right things ourselves but we can't force that on another. Reread:
Matthew 18:17
What phrase describes the offender that is used twice?

If there is a wilfulness-- a refusal to listen --then what do we do?
Matthew 18:17b

The idea here is that we would cease to have fellowship with the person or acknowledge them as a brother or sister. "It does not mean that we should cease to show kindness to him .... but it means that we should disown him as a Christian brother or sister and treat him as we do other people not connected with the church."
(Barnes Notes)

Day 19- Jesus stands behind the authority of His church. In His final instruction He is speaking to the apostles. What does he tell the apostles that he had already told to Peter once before?
Matthew 18:18 / Matthew 16: 18-19

In other words, whatever is agreed upon by church authority in the way of church discipline will also be approved and ratified by God. This concept of binding and loosing is only found in Matthew (who was writing to the Jews). These were Jewish terms and they belonged only to the Rabbis to bind and loose. Thus Jesus is extending the sacred privilege to church authority.

Day 20- While binding and loosing were meant for church authorities, what privileges does Jesus give to all believers?
Matthew 18:19

Day 21- Two could be a father, mother or two friends that are in agreement of heart and desire. What kind of asking does God delight and promise to answer?
1 John 5:14-15

Day 22- Two or three praying in faith for a fellow believer can be powerful. Read the following prayers that St. Paul and his comrades prayed for others. They give us a good guide as to how we can pray for one another.
Ephesians 1:17-19 / Ephesians 2:14-18 / Colossians 1: 9-14

Day 23- What is Christ's second promise to small groups that are praying?
Matthew 18:20

Notice that his presence is promised to those that pray in HIS name. This refers to those who have made a public profession of Christ and the gospels.

How could the human Christ be everywhere at once? He couldn't. But Jesus is looking ahead of himself. He will soon die and resurrect from the dead to rejoin His Father in Heaven. He is proclaiming that He will be omnipresent and therefore able to be at a prayer meeting going on in India, England and the United States all at once. Only God could say these words!

Day 24- In these next verses Jesus continues the discussion with Peter and the disciples regarding when another brother (fellow believer) offends us. What question did Peter ask the Lord to which he gave his own answer?
Matthew 18:21

Day 25- Peter thought he was being very magnanimous. In the Jewish faith forgiveness was encouraged up to three times. He was doubling that plus adding one! What was the Lord's startling answer to his question?
Matthew 18: 22 / Luke 17:4

The number seven indicates completion. So when the Lord says 70 x 7 He is indicating an unlimited amount. There should be no limit to forgiveness.

Day 26- Peter was probably responding inside like you and I might be. "Wait a minute -- there is a limit to how much I can take or should take, especially from a person that is supposed to be a brother or sister in the faith!" Of course Jesus, knowing our thoughts, told this story.
Matthew 18: 23-35

Day 27- There are FOUR key points to notice in Matthew 18:23-35. What is the first thing that Jesus wants to make clear from this story?
Matthew 18:23 / Romans 14: 12 / 1 Peter 4:5

All of us, no matter who we are, will be called to settle our accounts with God.

Day 28- Second we should notice the two amounts of debt that were owed.
Matthew 18: 24, 28

The Lord chose two amounts that were vastly different. Ten thousand talents in today's U.S. Currency is equal to millions of dollars while one hundred denarius is only a few dollars.

Day 29- Jesus used these amounts to illustrate the important truth that anything that another brother owes us is nothing in comparison to our debt to God. What is our debt to God?
Isaiah 53: 4-5, 12 / 1 Timothy 1:15 / 1 Peter 2:24 / 1 Peter 3: 18

Day 30- Third, we are given a picture of the merciful heart of God in response to our helplessness. What three things did the king do in response to the servant's pleas?
Matthew 18: 26-27

What is true for all of us because of God's mercy?
Lamentations 3: 22-23 / Joel 2:13 / Micah 7:8 / Titus 3:4-7

Day 31 - God's mercy is an example for us to extend to our fellow believers and all mankind. It is more than an example. It is a command.
Micah 6:8 / Luke 6:36

Day 32- Finally, we must see that God's forgiveness of us is closely tied with our forgiveness of others.
Matthew 6:14 / Matthew 18: 32-35 / Mark 11: 25 / Luke 6:36 / Luke 11:4 / Ephesians 4:32 / Colossians 3:13


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