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When My Brother Sins

When other people sin, one of our first reactions is to point out their sin to them. After all, we care about the person, and we don't want them to sin. We want to make sure the ones we love live an upright life. But is pointing out other people's sin biblical? How many times did Jesus point out other people's sin? Let's examine Jesus' behavior and words. 

When Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well in John 4, she is surprised Jesus is even talking to her. He is kind and offers her living water. He doesn't point out her sin and tell her she's a harlot. He comments on her marriage situation as a way to show that He is indeed a prophet. He shows her grace and mercy--He is being relational.

In John 8:1-11, a woman was caught in the act of adultery. How incredibly embarrassing, but Jesus didn't even tell her she was sinning. He didn't condemn her or shame her. He told her to go and sin no more. He then turned to the self-righteous ones and asked them about their own sins--because that's what we should be focused on--not other people's sin. 

Matthew 7:1-3 says, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" We are told point blank to look at our own sin instead of the sins of others. 

We are called to love other people despite their sin. That doesn't mean we condone their sin or say it's ok to sin. Not even close. But The Accuser (Satan) does a good enough job of sending us shameful feelings, we don't need to compound that shame by treating sinners unlovingly. How did Jesus treat those who sinned against Him? 

In Matthew 26, Jesus knew Judas was going to betray Him, but He didn't send Judas away. He didn't shame him or ask Him, "How can you do this to me?" "What are you thinking?" "Don't you love me?" None of it. When Judas and the servants of the high priest came to arrest Him, Jesus said, "Do what you came for, friend." He doesn't berate Judas. He doesn't shame him. He calls him "friend."

That same night, Jesus knew that Peter would betray Him. Instead of telling Peter not to betray Him, Jesus encourages Peter to pray and strengthen his spirit. So we are to pray for those who sin against us. We are to encourage them in their prayer life. Matthew 18:15 says. "If your brother or sister sins against you, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over." But the key words there are "against you." It doesn't mean if your brother sins at all. It is specifically talking about sinning against you. And prayer. Lots of prayer. 

So unless someone sins against you, choose love. Choose what Jesus did and choose relationship over shame. Choose to look at your own sin, and make sure to look at the log in your own eye before you think you should point out someone else's sin. Then still don't point it out. 


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