“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” Matthew 18:15
1. We must make it our goal to approach others the same way we will want to be approached when we become the one guilty of offending.
2. Examine your heart. Be sure you are not going to the offender in anger or with an attitude of setting them straight. The goal must be to bring reconciliation.
3. Assume the best. (…or “innocent until proven guilty.) Don’t assume that another person has purposely done something to hurt you. Maybe they are unaware of how they came across or that whatever they did was offensive to you.
4. Be careful not to analyze a situation and “fill in the blanks,” possibly making more of a situation than there actually might be.
5. Evaluate whether the offense was sin (something that is condemned in Scripture) or if it was a misunderstanding.
6. Don’t go to others and complain about the situation.
7. Before you go to the person who has offended you, ask God to help you to be open to hear the other person’s heart.
8. Let him know that your desire is to hear what he has to say and that you are there with the intent of getting things worked out and reconciliation.
9. Assure the other person of your commitment to them as a member of the body of Christ. Let them know you don’t want anything to stand between you. Affirm the person in any way possible.
“Love is patient, love is kind…It is not rude…it is not easily angered…always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13
10. Acknowledge that you may have taken whatever the person said or did in a way that he did not intend it to be taken.
11. Ask God to help you to humbly explain the way you view the situation that has brought offense. Try to lay out the facts as objectively as possible. Don’t accuse.
12. Ask for the person’s point of view and give them time to explain. Be willing to adjust your understanding of the situation and to really hear their perspective. Be willing to admit that you may have misunderstood them.
13. Remember that we are required to do everything possible to live at peace with all men and that we are called to love one another as Christ loved us…and this is how others will know you are His disciples.
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Romans 12:18
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
14. If the person admits that they were wrong and asks for forgiveness, speak words of forgiveness.
15. If the person does not feel they did anything wrong and assures you that you have misunderstood them, you must then take it at face value and move on.
16. If possible, pray with the person and verbalize your commitment to him as a member of the body of Christ. Pray for them and ask God to help you to not develop any bitterness but that you would forgive in the same way you have been forgiven by God.