by Mike Benson
Jesus said, “Go…” When your brother sins against you, go” (Matthew 18:15).
I find that especially difficult. Submitting to baptism (Acts 22:16) wasn’t that hard. Observing the Lord’s Supper on Sunday only (Acts 20:7), isn’t that challenging. Keeping mechanical instruments of music out of the worship assembly isn’t too arduous (Colossians 3:17), either. But going to an offending brother who has hurt me deeply, now that’s hard. Head-theology is easy; life-theology and doctrine (2 Peter 1:3) is brutal.
Confronting one who has sinned against me means that I have to “go” with the right spirit. If I’m not careful, I can manifest a hurtful attitude…which is just a wrong as the sin my friend has committed against me in the first place.
So how do I go when I “go”?
Years ago, my othodontist suggested that I needed braces. Before the braces could be attached though, I had to have four wisdom teeth removed at the dentist’s office.
Doctor Brown had the task of pulling my teeth. He was not only skilled in his craft, but he had a helpful, seat-side manner. I didn’t like the thought of the impending procedure, but I liked how he prepared me for the procedure.
He said, “Mike, I’ve got a long syringe in my desk; it’s filled with something called Novocaine. The medicine will help numb your mouth and gums for when I extract your teeth. Don’t be afraid of the needle. It will only hurt a little.”
He was right. The needle was long, VERY, VERY long.
I felt apprehensive, to put it mildly. Maybe he could give me something to numb the shot that would then numb my gums for the extraction. No?
Doctor Brown winked, smiled, and then said, “Relax Mike, I don’t want to hurt you; you’ll feel a slight ‘sting’ for only a moment.” Doctor Brown prepared me for the shots. I closed my eyes, took a big breath, opened my mouth and tried to think of something pleasant. I knew he didn’t want to hurt me any more than was necessary.
I probably need to approach painful circumstances with my offending brother in a similar vein. My attitude should not be to hurt, but to help. Yes, some pain will be necessary, but my intent shouldn’t be accusatory, but cautious and caring. “I don’t want this to hurt anymore than necessary.” As a child of God, I have to go; I don’t have to go with an overbearing, self-righteous tone.
Paul said, “If a man is overtaken in any tresspass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness…” (Galatians 6:1).
Gentleness, that was Doctor Brown’s approach. It ought to be mine, too.
How will you go when you go?
by Mike Benson