The other day, a Christian called me out. I had said something foolish in one of my sermons that caused some real damage to some fellow Christians. My intention was never to hurt anyone, but I did. That’s why he emailed me. And he didn’t pull any punches. He called out my sin and bluntly told me how much of his respect I had lost. Honestly, it was hard to read.
But I’m so glad he did. After all, he was just obeying Jesus: “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over” (Matthew 18:15). He pointed out my fault. Not with a dozen friends carbon copied, but with an email just between the two of us.
Do you know what happened? I was able to own it, to apologize, to ask for his forgiveness. I was able to share the steps I had taken to reconcile with the people I sinned against. Even better, I was able to express my faith in the grace God still has for a sinner like me.
And do you know what happened then? He forgave me too! He graciously put my sin in the past. He expressed his desire to move on and love one another well. That’s the power of Jesus’ teaching about sin in the family of God.
So, can I encourage you to imitate this dear brother in the faith and be gracious with those who repent? I know sin stings, and it is so tempting to hold on to another’s wrong. But sorry sinners need grace. Sin carries such embarrassment and shame. Trust me, I know. But the grace of Jesus gives such hope and peace. Trust me, I know that too.