October 5

Luke 17:1-4

“Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive.” vs. 3

Luke had access to many sayings of Jesus, some of which weren’t connected to any particular time and place, and he chose to group those isolated sayings in sections by themselves. Some seem to have been chosen because they related to issues that were coming up in the early faith communities. Here Jesus addresses something that many believers struggle with, namely, just how much should they say to members of the community who have committed some offense. In particular, those who have immersed themselves in the gospel of grace often have difficulty saying anything that might even remotely be considered judgmental. We may think that words, jokes, or actions are inappropriate or wrong but we tend to ignore them or pretend we didn’t see or hear. Of course that gives no credit to either grace or gospel and ultimately will undermine the witness of the community. Jesus is blunt! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender! This doesn’t mean that our congregations should embrace a spirit of legalism and begin campaigns to exclude sinners–that’s not the point. Forgiveness is at the heart of who we are. But we do have an obligation to hold one another accountable to kingdom principles, and not hold back for fear of offending.

Thought for the Day: When have I been silent instead of speaking up?

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