Reach OutIn our last article on the sayings of Jesus, we discovered that His “judge not” is the pronouncement of guilt, sentence and punishment for the sin in our sister or brother. Such condemnation is reserved for God.

We also learned this “judge not” does not excuse us from our responsibility to lovingly help our sister and brother identify and remove the sin in their life. We know this in part because Jesus followed His “judge not” with the first step in the process of our restoration from sin.

Here we will learn the process for helping our sister and brother – and ourselves – find the grace of God to live a life without sin, for their and our benefit, and for that of the church. As we begin, it is important to recognize a few things:

  1. Identifying and addressing the sin in a sister or brother is not condemnation. It is an act of love, that they might not face the judgment of God (1Corinthians 5:1-5; James 5:19-20). Conversely, to ignore or accept sin in a sister or brother is failure to love them.
  2. To hold our tongue when God has made us aware of sin makes us guilty of that sin and subject to God’s judgment (Ezekiel 3:16-21).
  3. The primary meaning of krinō is “to separate, put asunder”. This is very similar to the meaning of sanctify: to cleanse, purify and separate from profane things; and dedicate to God. God’s children are to be His instruments of sanctification for the church.

This may come as a surprise to you. You may be experiencing a resistance to it – even a strong one. Be encouraged to prayerfully consider your responsibility to your sisters and brothers, your church fellowship, and to God (most of all). One of the primary reasons for the spiritual weakness of the church in America is our failure in this area.

God’s Way for Dealing with Sin

And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me remove the speck from your eye”; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5

First, notice Jesus’s intention in this saying: “see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s (or sister’s) eye.” Be encouraged that the Father knows the challenge this would be for His children. He graciously gave us a process for it, beginning with our own sanctification.

God intentionally and shrewdly orchestrates our relationships. Very often He puts people in our lives to help us see the sin in ourselves. We would be wise to consider every sin we notice in someone else as a sin God is trying to remove from our own eye. Here’s an interesting thought: The only way to see your eye is in a mirror.

Therefore, once we notice a sin in our brother, our first step for his restoration is to ask God to search our hearts; to see if there is any wicked way in us (Psalm 139:23-24). Whatever time it takes, this step must be completed before moving on.

Repentance (meaning “a change of mind”) is our second step. We must recognize and own our sin; we must think differently about ourselves. Just to be clear, this is the opposite of ignoring and excusing our sin. Sadness and shame may follow. I often find myself aggravated with my blindness. These are healthy responses, but they should not weigh us down for long. God has provided a way for our forgiveness and cleansing.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1John 1:9

The third step in restoration from sin is our confession to the Father. Confess means “to agree with or concede”. This shouldn’t be difficult if our repentance is real. The heavy lifting belongs to our Father: forgiving our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness (i.e., pulling the plank out of our eye).

Having been sanctified from this sin, we are almost ready to help our brother. Almost, because the attitude and manner in which this shift occurs is critically important.

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Galatians 6:1

Improved vision is not the only qualification we must possess if we are to remove the speck from our brother’s eye. We must also have a spirit of gentleness (a portion of the Spirit’s fruit); and we must be humble in our estimation of ourselves. It is a spiritual reality that the sin in our brother has the potential to cause us to fall back into that same sin.

Therefore, step four requires more time with God, seeking His preparation and protection for the meeting with our brother. This is, once again, a time of heart searching; this time, for anything that may inhibit the Spirit’s gentleness. It is also a time to ensure the completeness of our deliverance and to clothe ourselves with the full armor of God.

This matter of armor brings another important thought to mind: Our battle is not against flesh and blood. We must have our mind rightly focused against the real enemy. Let’s make this an intentional fifth step.

Now – and only now – we are prepared to meet with our brother.

Technically, this saying of Jesus ends here. However, for sins directed towards us personally, there are several additional steps we will cover in our next post.

For now, let us confess that the way of God for restoring our sister or brother is challenging – even intimidating. It requires our being strong in the Lord (Ephesians 4:10). Let us also confess that it is worth it, for in it Jesus Christ is making His church, and the Bride is making herself ready for the return of Her Beloved.

It is time we got back to the business of restoration, beginning with ourselves.

God bless you with courage, wisdom, and love for the restoration of brother and fellowship – to His pleasure and glory.

Humbly yours and forever His,