Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 30 : Go to Offenders | Day 206

Tell an Offender His Fault!

On Sunday the man looked like a saint, but during the week he acted like a sinner! His life in the workplace consisted of profanity, off-color jokes, borrowing money without repaying it, laziness, and disorder.

Whenever other Christian coworkers tried to witness, they would be asked if they went to the same church and believed the same way as this dreadful example of a Christian. When they admitted that they did, the conversation usually ended. These fellow believers had no choice but to go to this man and tell him his fault.

As members of the Body of Christ, each believer is responsible to look out for the welfare of fellow believers.

The phrase tell him his fault in this command is translated from the Greek word elegcho, which means "to reprove with conviction." It implies communicating not only the charge, but the Biblical basis of that charge as well. Our goal should not be to rehearse the offense, but rather to restore the offender to fellowship with us and the Body of Christ.

We should be lovingly firm when we tell an offender his faults, and it is important to start by asking questions to hear his side of the story and to make sure all the facts of the situation are known. (See Proverbs 18:13.) Asking questions will also help us discern his motives and will provide insight into how to appeal to him and work with him to correct the offense. For instance, is he intentionally stealing from his employer through laziness, or is it possible that he has never been taught how to work diligently?

The conversation should occur in a private place when there is sufficient time to talk. After discerning the nature of the situation, one approach that could be taken is to ask, "How do you think your fellow employees view you as a Christian?" This would allow him to begin seeing his life through the eyes of others. Then, the specific faults could be discussed, along with the Scripture they are violating, the damage they are causing to the name of Christ, and the ways in which they are hindering the response of other employees to the message of salvation. The goal is to help him see his offenses in light of Scripture so that he will repent before God, ask his fellow employees for forgiveness, and be restored.

Before going to an offender, we must make adequate preparations through prayer so that Satan will not be able to hinder conviction and repentance.

God is the only One Who can bring true conviction and repentance to a person's heart. Therefore, the most important step we can take before going to an offender is to boldly go before the throne of grace and fervently appeal to God to work mightily in the situation for His honor and glory. Ask God to cause a spirit of peace and truth to reign in the conversation and to give you His words to say. Also, by our authority in Christ we should bind and rebuke Satan so that he cannot cause any confusion. Let's realize the seriousness of telling an offender his fault, and let's be spiritually prepared before we do it.

“… If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone … ” (Matthew 18:15).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard