Go Privately to the Erring



If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. — Matthew 18:15, NLT 


When difficulties arise in the church, special study should be given to the word of God, with earnest prayer to learn what course Christ would pursue to settle the matter. It is a common practice for church-members to discuss the faults of the erring among themselves, while the one at fault is not visited, and no special effort is made to redeem him; and frequently he is treated with a coldness and neglect. 

Although it is no pleasant task to go to the one supposed to be in error, and tell him his fault between you and him alone, it is the very work Christ has given us to do to save the erring and preserve the harmony of the church. It is much more gratifying to human nature to tell our suspicions to our brethren, and make comments behind the back of the erring one, than to go to him frankly and say the same things we would say were he not present. 

We should deal with the erring as Christ has dealt with us. He pities our weaknesses, and so we should pity the erring. He made every sacrifice to save man; we should not hesitate at any self-denial or sacrifice to save our fellow-men. Our duty is plain. If our brother trespass against us, even though he has no immediate connection with us, it is our duty to go to him alone, not with censure and bitterness, but with sorrow expressed in our words. The voice should be modulated to reach his heart, and not to arouse a spirit of combativeness. We should come as close to the erring as possible, and with a spirit of forbearance, calmness, and love for their souls, patiently tell them their faults; and, with a softened heart, bow down and pray with and for them. 

With words of kindness, try to correct and save the erring; making humble supplications to God to touch and subdue the heart of the one who has erred, and is under the power and darkness of Satan. 

If members of the church were all doers of the word of Christ as well as hearers, freedom and prosperity would be the result. How much sorrow might be saved families and churches, if all, in sincerity and truth, practiced the lessons given us by Jesus, our Redeemer. 

The Review and Herald, April 15, 1880 


Father God, as I go to my brother who has sinned against me, guide me and give me wisdom to settle this hard matter. Give me Your love for his soul. Soften my heart, I let go of self and ask for a spirit of compassion and pity. Control the tone of my voice, give me words of kindness. May Your Holy Spirit go before me and touch my brother’s heart that we may both draw nearer to You.  



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