Has someone ever said or did something that really hurt you deeply? Or has someone offended you?
What do you do in those situations? Do you go running to your spouse or another close friend and tell them about what a terrible person that you met that day?
Does the Bible give any instructions about how to handle these types of situations? Or are we left on our own to do what we think is best?
Thank God; the Word of God does instruct us on how to live in every area of life.
Matthew 18:15-17 says “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”
The Bible tells us to go to that person and not go to everyone else.
THIRD PARTY OFFENCE
Have you ever heard of third party offense? This is where someone tells you something negative about someone else, and you become cold or judgmental toward that person because of what you have heard.
I heard some wise pre-marriage counsel that I would like to pass on to you. It stated that if your spouse does something to hurt/offend you, you should not go run off and tell your mother. She may develop an offensive attitude toward your spouse, and once you and your spouse get things worked out, your mother may still be left holding a grudge.
What about in the church? Should you be talking to others about a person’s fault? The person you are talking to may begin to judge that person and get the “third party offense” plague.
SOWING AND REAPING
You have heard the scripture that you will reap what you sow. (Gal. 6:7) We usually like to refer to this scripture when we have sown good seed. As you know, there are times we can reap this in the negative. How would you like it or how would you feel, if you found out others were going around talking negatively about you or something that you did? Wouldn’t you rather have the one who was hurt or offended by you to come to you privately? You could then clear up any misunderstanding, or apologize, ask for forgiveness and see restoration come and not disharmony in the church and brother against brother, or sister against sister.
The Bible tells us to go to that person alone.
A girlfriend who grew up in a Christian home told me of a time when she intended to talk to her sister about someone in a derogatory fashion and this wise sibling stopped her saying, “Shouldn’t you be talking to them about this and not me.”
This is the scriptural method of dealing with these kinds of issues. (Matt. 18:15-17) If we are doers of the Word we will reap the results of unity and according to Ps. 133 there God will command His blessing – life forevermore. *************
Written for All Woman Ministry by Laura Dueck, Calgary AB