Here’s a two-pronged command of Jesus at which it is easy to fail miserably on both counts: “‘If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.'” (Luke 17:3) Our human nature would have us do something else. If our brother sins, talk about him behind his back and he if repents, hold a holier-than-thou grudge against him.
Confronting sin is tough. We often don’t know how to face the person and we may not be very good at conflict. We chide ourselves; “judge not least you be judged” figuring that trumps the other scriptural admonition.
But remember, it says if your brother sins. Family relationships based on love make it possible for one sibling to confront another when someone is making a big mistake. You can say hard things because your motive is love and the other person usually instinctively knows that. Well, aren’t we brothers and sisters in Christ?
Therefore love may be the key to fulfilling this command. Make sure you have a heart full of it for the one who is gone astray. Make sure you feel about that person like a brother. Brothers usually have a shared history and know each other’s weaknesses. They know they are really no better than the other; next time it might just as easily be them on the receiving end.
Since that is the case, don’t forget about the forgiveness part either. You’ll appreciate it the most when it’s your turn to be rebuked and forgiven.