treat people like Jesus did
SCRIPTURE: Deuteronomy 25
If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ [Deuteronomy 19:25] If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. [Matthew 18:15-17]
The Law of Moses gave Israel a social order and justice system.
Throughout the Law, the concern for justice and mercy is evident (in some laws more obvious than others).
In that code justice includes capital punishment, and the “eye for an eye” principle.
Here we see the court system, led by the judges, meting out justice.
Society needs this kind of justice, government needs to address violence and crime.
The courts need to acquit the innocent and condemn the guilty.
But what about in the church?
Though churches need some form of discipline, we ought not to transfer the social code to the church order.
Yes, we speak for justice, and urge the government to do what is right.
But when dealing with concerns in the church, we ought to go beyond justice.
Jesus talks about dealing with a brother that sins against us.
First of all, notice that Jesus uses Deuteronomy 19:25 from the Law of Moses.
He also suggests going to the elders, and allowing them to decide.
The final verdict, if the person does not repent, is to treat them as a pagan or tax collector.
Now in the Law of Moses, such a person would be rejected and condemned.
But think about Jesus, how did He treat the pagans and the tax collectors?
They were the objects of His special love and concern.
He went out of His way to help, to bless, to forgive, to save them.
Jesus goes beyond the “eye for an eye” principle and advocates love for enemies, blessing those who curse us, forgiving those who wrong us, sharing with those who steal from us.
Its radically different from the Law of Moses; not contrary but beyond it.
Justice alone cannot restore order – we would all die if it were justice alone.
Mercy bypasses justice, forgives and restores the sinner, offers hope to the hopeless, grace to the graceless.
As a Jesus-follower, am I going beyond seeking justice?
Lord, help me to be like You – not demanding my fair share, but demonstrating fairness and sharing, mercy and love.