PASTOR’S MONTHLY MESSAGE

Pastor McClain's Message for March 2024

Apologies

Apologies should be consistent with the infraction. Some will offend publicly and apologize privately. Then, there are others who will offend privately and apologize publicly. Neither is correct. Why? Because the offense is relative to the one(s) offended and the offender only. If your offense was public, even though only to one, the venom will have affected many. If your offense was private, don’t spread the fault to the public.

Pastor McClain

Jesus’ instructions concerning the offense of a brother clearly outline the response required; “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.” (Matthew 18:15)

The one that is offended is required to go to the one who is responsible for the offense. Why? Because the offender may not be aware of the offense. As a matter of fact, more often than not, the offender is oblivious to the offense. It is therefore helpful and pleasing that a potentially offending act is brought to the forefront.

How do we handle a public, in your face offence? “But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” (Galatians 2:14)

The Apostle Paul found the actions of the Apostle Peter to be twofaced. Therefore, he publicly rebuked Peter. Peter’s actions were before the people at large. Many were subject to his influence and would need to witness the rebuke.

On the other hand, as in the passage from Christ, the offender is “mano-a-mano”. Therefore, the offender should only be approached privately. When there is no reconciliation between the two parties, an unbiased arbitrator should be included; “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” (Matthew 18:16)

Of course, bringing in additional minds will certainly expand the accusation beyond the initial allegation; however, it is done to ensure that one, the allegation is correct, and two, that it is not perpetuated.

The saints of God are to be especially aware of the propensity to gender an attitude that offends God’s purpose. In the final analysis the event requiring such follow up must be resolved in favor of the ultimate mission of God. Therefore, an attempt to refuse that which is apparent is to be elevated to a level of jurisprudence that may execute punitive consequences; “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” (Matthew 18:17)

Punitive consequences are never the initial intent when attempting to reconcile a relation between brethren. It is for that reason that the infraction is approached privately, and confidentially. Both parties are to see the hopeful outcome as a mending of a breach in said relationship. Nothing more and nothing less. Any mind of vengeance regardless of the infraction is as vile in God’s sight as the act that caused such response; “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”(Romans 12:19)

NJM