My, it sure is dark in the morning! Without a doubt, the earth is still in its orbit around the sun. I can tell simply by the change in daylight. God has made everything so reliable and dependable that most of the time we don’t even notice it. That’s his nature. Today, give pause for that. He is the most reliable and dependable in all of creation!
Today we look at the possibility that the brother who sins against us does not repent. Let’s recall Jesus’ instruction.
Matthew 18:16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
This sounds like an intervention, doesn’t it? Yes, it does. Let’s put this right out there: the very idea of an intervention is terrifying. Why? Because we are afraid. We are simply terrified that things may blow up on us, that they will backfire so bad that we would have wished that we had simply kept our mouths shut. We are afraid that the person will get angry and end up hating everyone. We are afraid that things may even turn violent. We are afraid that the person may leave our home. We are afraid of what might happen if we are not there to protect him.
We are also afraid that no one else will think the problem serious enough to join us in the intervention. We are afraid that they will bail on us once the process gets started, leaving us alone as the sole accuser (in the eyes of the one with the problem). Worse yet, we are afraid that they will throw us under the bus. Even worse than that, we are afraid that they will turn on us and become our enemies.
Yes, interventions are difficult and require unity. Hollywood hasn’t helped any of us in this. Movies and television shows make money by staging exaggerated situations to entertain us – for an opportunistic profit. They do not help us. They are bad.
Here’s the underlying thing to remember. God does not require us to go through anything alone. Yes, we have God and Jesus. I’m quite sure we have gone to our Father with our troubled love one in a pressing matter such as this. Our problem is that we think our troubles must stay private in our prayer closet. That’s simply not what the bible teaches. Here, in Matthew 18, we see firsthand that Jesus REQUIRES us to get others involved.
How do we do that? We talk to people. Who? People we can trust. That should start with fellow believers, whether believing family members, your pastor, your mentor, and/or your small group members. Share your burdens with them. Ask for their opinions and advice. Ask for their help. Next, involve safe non-believing family members. By safe, I mean those who are capable and willing to 1) understand the problem and 2) be willing to help.
Then what? You develop a plan. Carefully assess the situation and discuss all scenarios. Come up with a game plan for each. Role play with each other so you know how to act and react to each. Spend time to make sure you have thought everything through, well, so that you are prepared. That will give you confidence. Oh, don’t forget prayer. God will guide you. Make sure you spend lots of time in prayer – together, as a group.
Once you are prepared, the next step is to act. If he repents, then celebrate! Seriously! That is cause for celebration. You have had the privilege to assist Jesus in removing chains from someone’s life. Let’s make sure we give credit where credit is due: Jesus is the one who removes chains for without him we can do nothing (John 15:5). We get to be part of that glorious transformation in someone’s life.
If it doesn’t go well, then on to the next of Jesus’ command. We’ll cover that tomorrow. Today, let’s close with this thought. Are you a “safe” person to come to with a serious problem? Are you a person someone would consider in the most serious of family problems? If not, why not? Are there no people in your phone contact list who has big problems? Nobody? Of course, there are!
Do people view you as an instrument of change? “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8b) Are you known as a disciple that is willing to get your hands deep in the mire of broken lives? Do people in need see hope when they look in your eyes? Are you willing to suffer persecution from those who revile you by saying all kinds of evil things against you, falsely, on account of Jesus? If so, you are blessed (Matthew 5:11). If not, you are missing out. Big time.
What if someone doesn’t ask you? Are you willing to let a dying world walk past you every day and not say something yourself? Is there anyone you know who might need someone who says, “I see your pain. May I help you?” Of course, there is. Do you say that you don’t have time for this? Be very careful when you say that! God has commanded you to take Sabbath rest. That requires you to organize your life to leave plenty of margin to help others in need. If we are too busy to help someone, we need to get rid of idols in our own homes.
What does Jesus say?
John 4:34-35 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest?’ Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.
The need is here. Today.
Father create in us the burning desire to be instruments of change. Stir us to action that we may see what needs to be done and courage to act. Engage us to witness miracles – right in front of our eyes – so that all may proclaim what Jesus has done for us. Let us seek that nourishment for our souls, more than food and water itself! Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers