Among the admonitions in the Word of God, one of the most difficult for brethren to heed to is this one: “Moreover if your brother shall trespass against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone: if he shall hear you, you have gained your brother.” (Matt 18:15) It is not because it is so difficult to understand, for there is nothing in the text to warrant misunderstanding. The difficulty lies in one or both parties being unwilling to take the initial step for reconciliation.
One may ask, “Have you known of Matthew 18:15 being followed today?” The answer is in the affirmative. I have known of brethren who have seen the importance of maintaining a proper relationship with their brethren and often strained relationships have been restored when brethren sincerely follow the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. Even if none of us has known of such action, we would not be excused by our neglect. “Go and tell him his fault between you and him alone” is directed to you and me!
What is the objective? “If he shall hear you, you have gained your brother.” Genuine love for one’s brother prompts the innocent to take the initiative to bring about restoration. True love and genuine concern for another’s soul has been demonstrated! No hypocrisy here! Applause by men is not coveted! This humble soul is doing what he can to bring about reconciliation, and “if he shall hear you, you have gained your brother.” As James said, “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20). This is not to say that you compromise the truth, but that you give them another chance at hearing what they have done wrong. If someone does you wrong, be that someone who offers that olive branch and save a soul from death!