Much sin is tolerated or overlooked because may Christians do not want to get involved in a process that God has outlined for His people. Others shun their duty because they know that they have sin in their own lives that has not been dealt with properly. Still others think that they dealt with the problem when they have “shared” the problem with several friends, anonymously, so that they can pray about it. None of these approaches is proper or God pleasing.
The Bible tells us to first examine our own lives for known sin before approaching another about the sin in his life. Jesus said, “How wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:4&5. Once this is done, we can proceed to step two.
Approach the person you wish to help in a spirit of humility and tell them of the sin which you have observed and the Bible reference that names it as sin. Jesus taught, “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) Notice the word “alone” in that verse. This is not to be done after others have been told of the sin or have been told to pray for this person for whatever reason. It is to be the first action following a self examination to rid ourselves of the “beams” in our lives.
Next, if the person does not respond to that, the Bible says, “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) These should be mature Christians with a knowledge of the Bible, particularly the portions dealing with sin in a believer’s life and forgiveness and restoration. Be prepared to document for them what you have done, and the sin you know this person has committed or is committing. One such mature Christian, a personal friend of mine, asks for a written and signed statement before he will get involved. Since this is a very serious step, it is important that it be carried out properly.
If all of the above has failed to produce the right results, that is the person confesses the sin and turns from it and is restored, there is a final step to be taken. Jesus said, “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) This involves church discipline. Paul taught this in the case of the man in the church in Corinth who was committing incest. Read 1 Corinthians 5. This action produced repentance and confession on the part of this brother and led to his restoration as reported in 2 Corinthians 2:6-8.