[Jesus continued,] "If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back."
— Matthew 18:15 NLT
It's one thing to reach out to the fallen brother or sister who has lost sight of the way. It's quite another to restore a brother or sister who has wronged us personally. But underneath the episodes of this chapter lies a stream of grace and redemptive love.
When we have been hurt by someone, often our first reaction is to get even by letting everyone else know what a jerk the person was to us. But not in Jesus' redemptive community. In Jesus' community, the goal is restoration: restoration of the personal relationship and restoration of the person back to the character Jesus wants for his community.
If the injury is a private matter, then we should begin by going personally, alone, to lovingly and redemptively confront the brother or sister with the goal of reconciliation. As followers of Jesus, there are no other options open to us until this first step is taken!
Holy and loving Father, forgive me when I've thought more about getting even than I have about regaining relationship with brothers and sisters and about strengthening their relationship with you. I know that when I am out of relationship with others, it blocks my relationship with you. Please give me the courage, wisdom, sensitivity, and timing to lovingly and redemptively confront those who sin against me. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.