How to Reconcile with a Brother who Sins

by FLL Editorial Team

瑪竇福音 18:15-20


可是當犯錯的人不聽從規勸,就需多加一個或兩個人一起規勸,這和舊約的做法是吻合的,「因人無論犯了什麼不義,什麼罪惡,或什麼過錯,只憑一個見證,罪名不得成立;須憑兩個或三個見證的口供,纔可定案。」(申命記 19:15) 如果同伴還是不聽從,就要告訴教會;但如果他連教會也不聽從,就該把他看作外教人看待。



Jesus said to his disciples: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell the Church. If he refuses to listen even to the Church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
Matthew 18:15-20

This gospel shows how Jesus taught members of the church community to respond to wrongdoing within the community. Though there are multiple steps of things to be done until the issue is settled, the objective above all is to reconcile and bring back the lost sheep, rather than to punish or to criticize the wrongdoer in front of other members.

Therefore, we have no need to expose other people's faults if we can correct them in private. To bring in one or two other person after the wrongdoer refused to listen, is a practice that is consistent with the practice in the Old Testament, since “one witness alone shall not stand against someone in regard to any crime or any offense that may have been committed; a charge shall stand only on the testimony of two or three witnesses.” (Deuteronomy 19:15) If the person at fault still do not listen, the matter shall be brought to the church, and Jesus said the church community has the right to exclude the person from the community if he or she still refused to listen.

Here Jesus grants the church community the authority to bind and loose, for the good of the church community as a whole, against corruption and division that may harm the mission of the church and its faithful members.

Jesus also reminds us of the power of collective prayer. He promises wherever two or three gather in His name, He will be in the midst of them; and what we ask together in prayer will be granted by our Father in heaven. When He said two or three gather in His name, He didn't restrict this to particular members of the church community, and therefore it applies to all of us. Let us always give thanks and remind ourselves of Jesus' presence whenever we gather together to pray, and have faith that God listens to our prayers and will answer us according to His will.