Forgiveness and Restoration

Scripture Reading: Matt. 18:21-35, 15-20; Luke 17:3-5

“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” (Matthew 18:21-35)

“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. 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. 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. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”  (Matthew 18:15-20)

“Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.”  (Luke 17:3-5)

What should we do if a brother offends us? We all have to deal with this question. What should we do when it is not we who have offended others but others who have offended us? When we examine the above three portions of the Lord’s Word, we find that we should not only forgive a brother who has offended us but we should also restore him. Let us first consider the matter of forgiveness.

I. FORGIVING ONE’S BROTHER

A. Being Required to Forgive

Matthew 18:21-22 says, “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

Luke 17:3-4 says, “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.”

The verses in Matthew say that we should forgive a brother seventy times seven times, not just seven times. The verses in Luke say that we have to forgive a brother who sins against us seven times a day, repents, and turns to us seven times. Whether or not his repentance is genuine, we must forgive him as long as he repents. Whether or not he is genuine is not our responsibility. We have to forgive him.

Seven times is not too much, but seven times within one day is not that infrequent. Suppose the same person does the same thing to you seven times a day, and suppose he says that he has sinned against you seven times a day. Would you still believe that his confession is genuine? I am afraid that you would think that he was only confessing with his lips. This is why Luke 17:5 says, “The apostles said to the Lord, Increase our faith.” They felt that this was a problem to them. It was unthinkable to them that a brother could offend someone seven times in a day and then turn around to repent seven times. They could not believe it, and they said, “Lord, increase our faith.” But God’s children should forgive even if they are called upon to do so seven times a day. When a brother sins against you, you should not hold it against him.

B. God’s Measure

The Lord continues with a parable in Matthew 18:23-27: “Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.”

The slave owed ten thousand talents, which was a very large amount of money. He had no ability to repay because “he did not have the means to repay.” We can never repay all that we owe God. It is far more than what men owe us. Once a child of God arrives at a proper evaluation of his debt to God, he will generously forgive what his brother owes him. When we forget the immensity of the grace we have received from God, we become merciless toward others. We need to see how much we owe God before we can see how little others owe us.

The slave did not have the means to repay, and the master ordered him “to be sold, as well as his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made.” Actually, even if he sold all that he had, he still could not have repaid everything. “Then the slave fell down and worshipped him, saying, Be patient with me and I will repay you all.”

It is difficult for man to understand clearly what grace is and what the gospel is. Man often thinks that he may not be able to repay today, but that he will be able to repay someday. He may not make it today, but he will make it someday. In these verses, however, we see a slave who, even if he were to sell all that he had, would not have had enough to repay. He said, “Be patient with me and I will repay you all.” His intention was good. He was not trying to avoid his debt. He was only asking the Lord for more time. He intended to repay all. Such a thought can only come from those who have no knowledge of grace.

“And the master of that slave was moved with compassion and released him and forgave him the loan.” This is the gospel. The gospel is not God working for you according to your idea. You may say, “Lord, be patient with me, and I will repay You all,” but the Lord does not respond by saying, “Pay what you have and repay the rest later.” The Lord forgave all of your debt. Man’s prayers and requests do not even come close to the grace of the Lord. Our Lord works for us and answers our prayer according to what He has. The master of the slave released him and forgave the debt. This is God’s grace; this is His measure. Anyone who asks for grace will receive grace from God, even though his knowledge of grace is very limited. We should be clear about this principle: The Lord loves to bestow grace on men. As long as we have a little desire for grace, the Lord will pour it out on us. He is afraid that we will not ask. As soon as a man hopes a little and opens his mouth to say, “Lord, be gracious to me,” the Lord pours out His grace to him. Moreover, this grace from the Lord is given to His own satisfaction. We may think that one dollar is enough, but He will give ten million dollars, not just one dollar. He acts for His own satisfaction. His acts are compatible with Himself. We would settle for one dollar, but God cannot give anyone such a small sum. Either He does not give at all, or He gives according to His own measure.

We need to realize that salvation is accomplished in man according to God’s measure. Salvation is not carried out according to man’s thought. It is accomplished in man according to God’s thought and plan.

The criminal on the cross pleaded with the Lord, saying, “Remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” The Lord heard his prayer, yet He did not answer him according to his prayer. Instead He said, “Today you shall be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:42-43). Salvation is God saving man according to His own will, not according to the sinner’s will. Salvation is not according to the thoughts of a sinner’s limited mentality about God’s work for him. Rather, salvation is God’s work upon sinners according to His own thought. The Lord did not wait until He came into His kingdom to remember the criminal. He promised the criminal that he would be with Him in Paradise that very day.

The tax collector prayed in the temple and beat his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” At the most, he was asking God to be merciful to him. But God did not answer him according to his prayer. The Lord Jesus said, “This man went down to his house justified rather than that the other” (Luke 18:9-14). In other words, that sinner went back justified. This was much more than what was in the mind of the sinner. The sinner had no thought of justification; he asked only for pity. But God said that he was justified. This means that God did not consider him a sinner but a justified person. Not only were his sins forgiven; he was justified by God. This shows us that God does not accomplish His salvation according to man’s thought but according to His own thought.

The same thing is seen in the return of the prodigal son (15:11-32). When he was a long way off from home and before he met his father, he was prepared to go back home to serve as a servant. But when he reached his home, his father did not ask him to be a servant. Instead, he asked his slaves to bring out the best robe and to put it on him. He put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet and slaughtered the fattened calf. They ate and were merry because the son who was dead had come to life again; he was lost but had been found. From these verses we see again that God does not accomplish His salvation according to a sinner’s thought but according to His own thought.

Mark 2 speaks of four men who took a paralytic to the Lord Jesus. When they were unable to bring him to the Lord because of the crowd, they removed the roof where the Lord was and lowered the bed on which the paralytic was lying, hoping that the Lord Jesus would heal the paralytic and make him rise and walk. But the Lord Jesus said, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” (v. 5). The Lord Jesus not only healed him but also forgave him of his sins. This also tells us that God works to His own satisfaction. All we have to do is go to God and ask. It does not matter whether we have asked enough. God always works to His own satisfaction, not to the sinner’s satisfaction. Therefore, we should not consider salvation from our point of view but from God’s point of view.

C. God’s Expectation

God expects to see one thing from us: Whoever wants to receive grace must first learn to dispense grace. Whoever receives grace must first learn to share grace. If a man receives grace, God expects him to share this grace with others.

Matthew 18:28-29 says,  “But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.”

Here the Lord shows us that we owe Him ten thousand talents, while others only owe us only a hundred pence (pennies). When we say to the Lord, “Be patient with me and I will repay you all,” He not only releases us but also forgives our debt. Our fellow slave, our brother, owes us a hundred pennies at the most. When he says, “Be patient with me and I will repay you,” he has our same hope and request. How can we not be patient with him? But the slave “And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.” (v. 30).

The Lord spoke such a parable to expose the unreasonableness of those who do not forgive others. If you do not forgive your brother, you are the very slave spoken of in these verses. When we read this parable, we are indignant at this slave. The master had forgiven his debt of ten thousand talents, but he would not forgive his fellow slave’s debt of a hundred pennies. He put his fellow slave into prison and kept him there until the latter would pay what he owed. He acted according to his standard of “righteousness”! A believer should treat himself according to righteousness but should treat others according to grace. Your brother may owe you something, and the Lord knows clearly that your brother owes you something. But He also clearly shows us that if a believer does not forgive his brother, he is not dealing with others according to grace. Such a one is short of grace in God’s eyes.

Verses 31-33 say,”So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?”The Lord expects us to do to others as He has done to us. He has not made demands on us according to righteousness. In the same way He expects us to not make demands on others according to righteousness. The Lord has forgiven our debts according to mercy, and He expects us to forgive others’ debts according to mercy as well. With what measure the Lord measures to us, He expects us to measure the same measure to others. The Lord dispenses grace to us according to a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. He expects us to do the same thing to others according to a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. The Lord expects us to do to our brother as He has done to us.

The ugliest thing in the eyes of God is for a forgiven person to refuse to forgive others. Nothing is uglier than refusing to forgive when one has been forgiven or refusing to be merciful when one has obtained mercy. A person should not receive grace for himself on the one hand and refuse to share grace with others on the other hand. A person must realize before the Lord that he should treat others the same way that the Lord has treated him. It is very ugly for a man to receive grace while refusing to share grace. Being forgiven yet refusing to forgive others is a most uncomely sight. God condemns a debt-ridden person’s attempt to demand payment from another debt-ridden person. He has no pleasure in those who remember others’ shortcomings when they themselves have come short.

The master asked the slave, “Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?”  God wants us to have mercy on others as He has had mercy on us. We need to learn to have mercy on others and to forgive them. A man who has experienced grace and who is forgiven by God should learn to forgive others’ debts. He should learn to forgive others, to have mercy on them, and to be gracious to them. We need to lift up our eyes and say to the Lord, “Lord, You have forgiven my debt of ten thousand talents. I am willing to forgive those who have offended me today. I am also willing to forgive those who will offend me in the future. You have forgiven me of my great sins. I also will learn to be like You in a small way by forgiving others.”

D. God’s Discipline

Verse 34 continues,  “And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.” This is a man who has come under God’s discipline. God delivers him to the torturers until he should repay all that he owes.

Verse 35 says,  “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”  This is a serious matter. We hope that no one would fall into God’s hand. We must forgive our brother from the heart, as God has forgiven us from His heart. We hope all the brothers and sisters will learn to forgive all offenses. Do not try to remember the sins of your brother. We should not ask our brother to repay us. God’s children should be like God in this matter. Since God treats us generously, He expects us to treat our brothers generously as well.

II. RESTORING THE BROTHER

It is not sufficient for us to just forgive our brother. This only takes care of the negative side. We still need to restore him. This is the charge in Matthew 18:15-20.

A. Telling the Person

Matthew 18:15 says,  “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.”  Offenses occur all the time among God’s children. If a brother offends you, what should you do? The Lord says, “Go, reprove him between you and him alone.” If a brother offends you, the first thing you should do is not to tell others. Do not tell the brothers and sisters or the elders of the church about it or make it the subject of your conversation. This is not the Lord’s charge. If a brother offends you, the first thing you should do is go to him and tell him.

A problem often arises when a brother offends another brother and then the offended brother goes around publicizing it. He continually talks about it until the whole church knows about it. However, the brother who supposedly offended him remains unaware of the offense. Such tale-telling is typical of the conduct of a weak person; only a weak one would be so timid as to not talk directly with the offending brother. He would only dare to speak about the matter behind his back; he would dare not speak about it face-to-face. It is an unclean thing for anyone to speak of matters behind others’ backs and to spread gossip. We do have to deal with our brother’s fault, but the Lord does not want us to tell others first. The first one who needs to be told is the person who is directly involved, not others. If we learn this basic lesson well, the church will be spared many problems.

How do we tell others? Should we write a letter to them? The Lord did not tell us to do this. The Lord did not say that we should deal with it in writing, but rather by going to our brother and speaking to him face-to-face. However, just as it is wrong to speak about a matter behind someone’s back, it is equally wrong to speak about it in front of many people. The matter should be communicated “between you and him alone.” Many children of God fail in this matter. They publicize things before many people. But the Lord charges us to speak only when the involved parties are together. In other words, individual sins should be dealt with by the individuals alone; no third party should be involved at all.

We need to learn this lesson before God. We should never say anything behind the back of the brother who has offended us, and we should not speak to him in front of many people. We must point out his fault only when we are alone together. We do not have to talk about other things or bring up other problems; we simply need to point out the fault. This requires grace from God. It is one lesson God’s children must learn.

Some brothers and sisters may think that this is too troublesome. While this is, in fact, quite troublesome, you cannot be afraid of trouble if you want to walk according to God’s Word. If you feel that your brother’s offense against you is too small to be bothered with, you may feel no need to speak to him. If this is the case, there is also no need to tell others about it. If you feel that a matter is insignificant, simple, trivial, and unworthy of bringing to his attention, you should not tell others about it either. You should not think that he does not need to be informed but that others do need to be informed. If you want to speak of it, speak to him alone. If there is no need to speak of it, simply keep silent. It is wrong for others to know about something when the offending brother is ignorant of it.

B. The Reason for Telling

The second half of verse 15 says, “if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.”   This is the reason for telling. The reason for telling your brother is not to receive any compensation. There is only one reason for telling: “If he hears you, you have gained your brother.”

Therefore, the issue is not how much loss you have sustained. If your brother has offended you, and the matter is not cleared up, he will not be able to get through to God; there will be obstacles in his fellowship and prayer. This is why you have to admonish him. It is not a matter of venting your hurt feelings, but a matter of your responsibility. It is a very small matter if it is simply a matter of hurt feelings. If it is just a matter of hurt feelings, if the issue does not pose a problem to you, and if you think you can get over it, you do not need to speak to your brother or anyone else. No one knows better than you do how serious the matter is to you. The responsibility of making the decision to go or not to go rests with you. Such responsibility rests with the party who is clearest about the matter. There are many things that can be let go of, but there are also many things that must be dealt with. If some offenses will indeed stumble your brother, you must point out his fault to him while he and you are alone together. Anything that should be dealt with must be dealt with carefully. You may let the matter go easily, but the other party may not be able to get through like you. He has committed an offense before God, and God has not yet forgiven him. If a brother has committed a mistake that will jeopardize his relationship with God, this is not a small matter, and you should go and clearly tell him about it. You must find an opportunity while he and you are alone together and say, “Brother, it was not right for you to offend me in such a way. Your offense will ruin your future before God. You will create obstacles and bring loss to yourself before God.” If he listens to you, “You have gained your brother.” In this way you restore your brother.

Today many of God’s children do not obey the teaching of this portion of the Word. Some people always speak of others’ wrongdoings, continually publicizing them. Some do not tell others, yet they never forgive and always harbor grudges in their hearts. Some forgive but do not try to restore. But this is not what the Lord wants us to do. It is wrong to speak of others’ faults; it is wrong to keep silent yet be unforgiving in the heart; and it is equally wrong to forgive but not to exhort.

The Lord did not say that it is good enough for us to forgive the brother who has offended us. The Lord also showed us that the offended one has the responsibility to restore the offending one. Since it is not a small thing to offend someone, we have the responsibility to tell the one who has offended us for his sake. We must think of some way to restore our brother and gain him back. When we speak to him, we must be proper in our attitude and pure in our intention. Our purpose is to restore our brother. If our intention is to gain him, we will know how to point out his fault. If our intention is not to restore him, it will only worsen the relationship. The purpose of exhortation is not to ask for recompense or to justify our own feelings; it is for the purpose of restoring our brother.

C. The Proper Attitude in Telling Others

If our intention is pure, we will know how to do this step by step. First, we must have the right spirit. Next, the words we speak, the way we speak them, including our attitude, countenance, voice, and tone, must all be right. Our purpose is to gain him, not just to inform him of his fault.

If we are simply trying to rebuke him, our rebuking may be right, and the strong words we use may be justified, but our attitude, tone, and countenance may never achieve the goal of gaining him.

It is easy for us to say good things about a brother; it is easy to praise a person. It is also very easy to lose our temper with a person. We only need to let go of our emotions and we will lose our temper. But pointing out a person’s fault and, at the same time, restoring and gaining him is something that can be done only by those who are full of grace. One must forget about himself completely before he can be humble, meek, free from pride, and willing to help those who are at fault. In the first place one must be right himself.

You should realize that the Lord allows a brother to offend you because He has shown favor to you and has chosen you. He has put a great responsibility upon you. You are His chosen vessel, and God is using you to restore your brother.

If a brother offends you in a small matter and you forgive him, the matter is settled; there is no need to do anything further. But if a brother offends you to such an extent that it becomes an issue, you cannot close your eyes and say that there is no problem. The problem is there, and you cannot ignore it. If the problem is not solved, it becomes a burden to the church. The church is often weakened because of these burdens. The life of the Body is drained through these burdens, and the work of the ministers is wasted through these burdens. Before God we need to learn to deal with every problem when it arises. If a person offends us, we should not close our eyes and try to ignore it. We must deal with it properly. However, our spirit, attitude, word, countenance, and tone must all be proper. This is the only way to gain our brother.

D. Telling Others

Verse 16 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.”  If you go to him by yourself and speak to him with a proper motive, a good attitude, and gentle words, and he still does not hear you, then go and tell others about it. However, you must tell someone else only after he has rejected your words. You must not tell others loosely.

If a problem arises between two of God’s children and if both of them go to the Lord and deal with it, everything will be solved easily. But suppose one is not careful with his words and the problem spreads to the ear of a third person. The problem will be compounded, and it will be hard to solve. If there is no contamination of a wound, the healing process is relatively simple. If dirt gets into a wound, not only does the level of pain increase, but the dirt makes it harder for the wound to heal. Unnecessarily spreading a problem to a third person is like adding dirt to a wound. Any problems between the brothers and sisters should be dealt with directly by the involved persons. The only time we should tell another person or persons is when one party will not receive the admonition. The purpose of telling others is not to multiply the gossip but to invite others to exhort, help, and fellowship together.

The “one or two more” here should be experienced persons in the Lord; they should be those who are weighty in their spiritual measure. You should present the case before them and ask for their opinions. They should check whether the fault lies with the offending one. The mature ones should pray and consider the matter before the Lord and then arbitrate according to their spiritual discernment. If they feel that the fault lies with the offending brother, they should go to that brother and say, “You are wrong in this matter. By doing this you have cut yourself off from the Lord. You must repent and confess.”

“That by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” The “one or two more” must not have a loose tongue. Do not invite talkative persons to such a meeting. Talkative ones can never convince people; instead, invite those who are trustworthy, honest, spiritual, and experienced before the Lord. In this way every word will be established by the mouth of two or three witnesses.

E. Finally Telling the Church

Verse 17 says, “If he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church.” If we cannot deal with the problem by ourselves, we should bring one or two with us to deal with it. If the other person still refuses to hear them, we have to tell it to the church. Telling the church does not mean that we publicize the matter when the whole church is gathered together. It means telling the responsible elders in the church. If the conscience of the church also feels that this brother is wrong, he must be wrong. If the offending brother is one who walks before God, he should lay aside his own view and accept the witness of two or three. If he does not accept the witness of two or three, he should at least accept the verdict of the church. The unanimous view and judgment of the church reflect the heart of the Lord. The brother should realize that it is wrong to ignore the church. He should be meek and not trust in his own feelings or his own judgment. Rather, he should accept the feeling of the church.

What if he still refuses to hear? Verse 17 continues,   “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 is a serious word. In other words, if he refuses to hear the church, all the brothers and sisters in the church should no longer communicate with him. Since he does not want to face his problem, the church should consider him as a Gentile and a tax collector and should have no fellowship with him. Though he is not excommunicated, all the brothers should consider him as a Gentile and tax collector, and no one should pay any attention to him. If he speaks, no one should listen. If he comes to break bread, everyone should ignore him. If he prays, no one should say “amen.” If he wants to come, he can come. If he wants to go, he can go. But everyone should consider him as an outsider. If God’s children will hold such an attitude in one accord, it will be easy to restore a brother. The purpose for dealing with him in this way is still to restore him.

Verse 18, which says,   “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven,”  is related to the previous verses. The Lord in heaven acknowledges what the church does on earth. If the church considers a person who refuses to hear the church as being wrong, the church will look upon him as a Gentile and a tax collector, and our Lord in heaven will acknowledge the same thing.

Verses 19 and 20 are also based on the preceding portion,  “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”   Why does the previous verse say “that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established”? Here we see that the principle of two or three is the principle of the church. If two or three act upon a matter in one accord, and if these two or three deliberate something before God in one accord, God will acknowledge the decision. Matthew 18:18-20 is spoken in the context of our dealing with the brothers. When a matter is brought up to two or three people and then to the whole church, the Father in heaven will acknowledge such a decision.

Here we want to mention something in passing. How does the church make important decisions? Acts 15 shows us that when brothers come together, everyone can speak and debate. Even those who are for the law can stand up and speak their mind, even though their opinion is altogether wrong. In other words, all the brothers have equal opportunity to speak. But not all the brothers can arbitrate matters. All the brothers can express how they feel before the Lord. After the elders have listened to all of them, they should speak their feelings before God and make a final judgment on the matter. The responsible brothers may have the same feeling before the Lord. This feeling is the feeling of the church; it is also the conscience of the church. After they have spoken, everyone should submit and go along with them in one accord. This is the way of the church. The church does not muzzle people’s mouths or forbid anyone to speak. But no one should speak carelessly. When the time comes for a decision, the elders should speak under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and all the brothers and sisters should listen to the elders. If the Holy Spirit’s authority is present in the church, such matters can be resolved easily. If the Holy Spirit has no authority in the church and there are many opinions of the flesh, the church will not be able to arbitrate anything at all. We must learn to submit to the authority of the Holy Spirit and to listen to the church.

May God be gracious to us.  May we be like our Master who is so full of grace. If a brother offends us, we should forgive him from the heart. Moreover, we should bear the responsibility of restoring him according to the Lord’s Word. May the Lord lead us to live such a life in the church.

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Written originally by Watchman Nee in China during the Chinese revolution and died in a prison camp but these lessons have been the foundation of my life for 38 years.  David Williams – site Admin.

CONFESSION AND RECOMPENSE

Scripture Reading: Lev. 6:1-7; Matt. 5:23-26

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour; Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein: Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found, Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering. And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD: and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing therein.” (Leviticus 6:1-7)

“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.” (Matthew 5:23-26)

I. A CONSCIENCE VOID OF OFFENSE

After we have believed in the Lord, we must build up a habit of confessing and recompensing. If we have offended anyone or have come short of anyone, we should learn to confess or to recompense. On the one hand, we have to confess to God, and on the other hand, we have to confess to and recompense man. If a man does not confess to God nor apologize or recompense man, his conscience will easily become hardened. Once the conscience becomes hardened, a serious and fundamental problem develops: It becomes difficult for God’s light to shine into a man. A person must build up a habit of confessing and making recompense so that he can maintain a sensitive and keen conscience before the Lord.

There was once a worker of the Lord who used to ask others, “When was the last time you confessed to someone?” If it has been a long time since a person’s last confession to another person, there has to be some problem with this person’s conscience. We often offend others. If a person has offended someone yet has no feeling about it, his conscience must be sick or abnormal. The length of time since your last confession is an indication of whether or not there is a problem between you and God. If the period of time is long, it proves that there is a lack of light in your spirit. If the time is short, that is, if you recently have made a confession to others, it proves that the feeling of your conscience is still sensitive. In order to live under God’s light, we need a sensitive conscience, and in order for our conscience to remain sensitive, we need to continually condemn sin as sin. We need to confess to God, and we also need to make confessions and recompenses to man.

If we have offended God and the offense has nothing to do with man, we do not need to confess to man. We should not overdo anything. If a brother or sister’s sins are unrelated to man, having only offended God, he or she only needs to confess to God; there is absolutely no need to confess to man. I hope that we will pay attention to this principle.

What kind of sins offend man? How should a person apologize to another person or recompense another person when he offends him or comes short in his dealings with him? In order to be clear about this, we need to carefully study two portions of Scriptures.

II. THE TRESPASS OFFERING IN LEVITICUS 6

There are two sides to the trespass offering: One is revealed in Leviticus 5 and the other in Leviticus 6. Chapter five tells us that we should confess to God and offer up sacrifices for forgiveness of our miscellaneous sins. Chapter six tells us that it is not enough to offer up a sacrifice to God if we have offended a person materially; we should also restore something to the offended party. Chapter six says that if we have offended anyone in material things, we should take care of the matter with men. Of course, we also need to confess to God and ask for His forgiveness. But just dealing with God is not enough. We cannot ask God to forgive us on behalf of the ones whom we have offended.

How should we take care of the matter from man’s side? Let us look at the trespass offering in Leviticus 6.

A. Some Sins That Are Trespasses against Man

Leviticus 6:2-7: ” If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD,”—All sins are ultimately trespasses against Jehovah—”and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour; Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein: Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found, Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering. And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD: and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing therein.” A person who has offended anyone or transgressed against anyone in material things has to settle it with men before he can be forgiven. If he does not settle it with men, he will not be forgiven.

There are six kinds of transgressions against man in these verses:

(1)Lying to one’s fellowman in regard to a deposit: This means to be entrusted with something and then to purposely withhold the good and costly portions while surrendering the inferior portions. This is lying, and it is a sin before God. We should not lie to others in regard to their deposit but rather guard it faithfully. God’s children should always guard faithfully the things that others have entrusted to them. If we cannot guard it, we should not accept such a deposit. Once we accept it, we should do our best to guard it. If anything happens to it through our unfaithfulness, we have trespassed against man.

(2)Lying to one’s fellowman in regard to a security: This means to deal falsely or to lie in business transactions or to profit through improper means or to usurp something that is not yours in trade. This is to sin before the Lord, and it should be dealt with in a strict way.

(3)Robbing a fellowman:  Although this may not happen among the saints, we still have to say something about it. No one may acquire anything by way of robbery. Anyone who tries to usurp the possessions of others by means of his status or power has committed a sin.

(4)Extorting from one’s fellowman: It is a sin to take advantage of anyone through the influence of one’s own position and power. In God’s eyes His children should never do such a thing. This kind of conduct must be dealt with.

(5)Finding what is lost and lying about it: New believers must pay special attention to this matter. Many people have lied about the things which others have lost. To turn something into nothing, to reduce much to little, or to exchange what is bad for what is good is the same as lying. Something is there, yet you say that nothing is there. There may be much, but you say that there is little. Something may be good, but you say that it is bad—all this is lying. Others have lost something, and you take advantage of them, extorting some gain and benefit out of them; this is sin. A Christian must not take possession of others’ belongings and make them his own. If you have picked up something by accident, you have to guard it well and return it to the owner. Never claim lost items as your own. It is wrong to keep lost articles; it is more wrong to usurp the possessions of others by illegal means. To turn other’s possessions into one’s own by any unrighteous means is wrong. A believer should not do anything that profits himself at the expense of others.

(6)Swearing falsely: It is a sin to swear falsely concerning any material thing. You know something, yet you say that you do not know. You have seen something, yet you say that you have not seen it. Something is there, yet you say that nothing is there. Anyone who swears falsely has sinned.

“….for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing therein.”—this refers to transgressions against men in terms of material things. God’s children should learn and always remember this lesson—they should not make the possessions of others their own. The possessions of others belong to them. Do not make their possessions yours. Whoever swears falsely in any of the things mentioned above and transgresses against others has sinned.

Brothers and sisters, if there is any dishonesty in anything you do, if you have acquired anything at the expense of others, or if you have acquired anything by means of these six ways, you have sinned. You have to deal with these sins thoroughly.

B. How to Return

Our manner of life has to be righteous, and our conscience must be void of offense before God. God’s Word says, “Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away…” (v. 4). The word return is very important. There are two aspects to the trespass offering. On the one hand, there is the need of propitiation before God. On the other hand, there is the need to “return” to man that which has been taken. Do not think that propitiation before God is sufficient. You must also return to man that which has been taken. If you do not return it, something is lacking. The trespass offering in Leviticus 5 deals with sins that do not involve material transgressions against people. Of course, there is no need to return anything in that case. But the sins spoken of in chapter six involve material loss, in which case one must return something. Propitiation through sacrifice was not enough. One still had to “return” that which was taken. This is why verse 4 says, “Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away….” Everything acquired through sinful means must be returned. One must return what was taken by robbery, what was gained through extortion, what was deposited with him, whatever has been found, and whatever has been falsely sworn. All of these things must be returned.

How does a person return these things? “…he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering” (v. 5). Here are three things that we need to take note of.

First, we have to make restitution in full. We are wrong if we do not make any restitution. We are equally wrong if our restitution is not made in full. No one should consider an apology as being sufficient. If the object in question remains in our house, it proves that we are still wrong; we have to return it in full.

Second, God wants us to not only return in full, but also to add one-fifth more when we make a recompense. Why must we add one-fifth? According to this principle, we have to return abundantly. If we have taken money or things from others, God wants us to add one-fifth to the full amount when we return it. God does not want His children to return the bare minimum. In printing books one has to leave margins at the top, bottom, left, and right of a page. Similarly, we should not be stingy in apologizing to people and returning what has been taken from them. We must be generous and liberal.

Some people do not add one-fifth to their recompense. In fact, they return much less than one-fifth of what was owed. They apologize by saying, “Although I offended you in this matter, I was not wrong in other matters. In other matters I did not offend you; rather, you offended me.” This is a settling of accounts, not a confession. If you want to confess, do not be that stingy. It is all right to apologize more than you need to, but do not apologize less. Why did you sin in the first place? Since you have to recompense now, be more generous. Do not take things away from others and then return only that much to them. You have to return generously.

God’s children should behave in a way that is worthy of their dignity. Even in the matter of confession, we should do it in a way that is worthy of our dignity. An apology that is in the way of settling accounts is not the kind of confession that God’s children should have. God’s children should confess their transgressions thoroughly and add one-fifth to the recompense. No one should be calculating and unwilling to make the smallest of sacrifices when confessing. If you are concerned about how much each party owes the other when you apologize, you are not behaving like a Christian. Some people say, “I was not angry at first, but your words made me angry. Since I have confessed my wrong already, it is your turn to confess your wrong.” This is altogether a matter of settling accounts; this is not a confession. If you are making a confession, you should go an extra mile. Be more generous in the matter of confession. Do not withhold anything in your confession; instead, try to be liberal in it.

Adding one-fifth to our confession or recompense reminds us that offending others is a losing proposition and that we should never do it again. When a new believer offends others, he should realize that he will suffer loss eventually, even though he may gain something temporarily. He took five-fifths, but he has to return six-fifths. It is easy to take something from someone. But when you return it, you have to not only return it in full but also add one-fifth.

Third, we should make our confession and recompense as soon as possible. Verse 5 says, “…he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering.” If it is within our ability to return the object, or if the object in question is still in our hand, we should return it on the day we learn of this sin. It is easy for people to delay in this matter. But the more God’s children put off confession and recompense, the more their feeling will become dull. As soon as we receive the light, we have to act upon it. We have to return it that very day. Hopefully, our brothers and sisters will take a straight path from the day they become a Christian. We should never take advantage of others and never be unrighteous. The basic principle of the Christian life on earth is not to take advantage of others. Taking advantage of others in any way is wrong. We must not take advantage of others. Instead, we must be righteous from the very beginning.

We have to give back to others. But this is not all. We should not think that everything is settled after we have made our apology and recompense. The matter is not settled. “And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest.” (v. 6).  After we have confessed to and recompensed others, we still have to go to God for forgiveness. The trespass offering in chapter five deals with just God because no material loss is involved. But chapter six speaks of transgression against man. Therefore, one must deal with man first, before going to God to ask for forgiveness. Before a matter has been settled with man, one cannot go to God to ask for forgiveness. What happens once one has settled the matter with man and has asked for forgiveness before God? “And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD: and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing therein.” (v. 7). This is what the Lord wants. Whoever has transgressed materially against man should try his best to make recompense. Then he can come before God and ask for forgiveness through the Lord’s blood.

We should not consider this as a trivial matter. Once we are careless, we take advantage of others and transgress against them. God’s children should remember this point and pay attention to it all their lives. In whatever matter they have transgressed against others, they should return these things to them and ask God for forgiveness.

III. THE TEACHING OF MATTHEW 5

Now let us turn to another portion—Matthew 5. This chapter is different from Leviticus 6, which speaks of transgressions against man just in terms of material things. Matthew 5 deals with more than just transgressions in material things.

Matthew 5:23-26 says, “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.” The farthings (one quarter of a penny) spoken of here do not refer to just physical farthings. They refer to the principle of coming up short in something.

The Lord says, ” Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee.” This specifically refers to disputes among God’s children and among the brothers. If you are offering a gift at the altar, that is, if you are offering something to God, and suddenly remember that your brother has something against you, this remembering is God’s leading. The Holy Spirit often gives you a necessary thought and reminds you of necessary things. When you remember something or are reminded of something, do not put the thought aside and think that it is merely a thought. As soon as you remember something, you should carefully deal with it.

If you remember that your brother has something against you, this means you have transgressed against him. Your transgression may or may not be in material things. Perhaps you have offended him by acting unrighteously towards him. The emphasis is not on material things but on that which sets others against you. A new believer should realize that if he offends a person and does not apologize and ask for forgiveness, he is finished as soon as the offended party mentions his name and sighs before God. Whatever he offers to God will not be accepted. Whatever he prays will be turned down. We should not allow any brother or sister to sigh before God because of us. Once he or she sighs, we are finished before God. If we have done something wrong or if we have offended or hurt someone, the offended party need not accuse us before God. All he has to say before God is, “Oh! So-and-so…” or, for that matter, he just needs to utter an “Oh” and whatever we offer to God will be rejected. All he has to do is sigh a little because of us before God. We must not give any brother or sister the reason or the ground to sigh before God because of us. If we give him or her a reason to sigh, we will lose all our spiritual prospects and all our gifts to God will be annulled.

If you are offering a gift at the altar and remember that your brother has anything against you or has any reason to sigh because of you, do not offer up your gift. If you want to offer to God, “Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” God wants the gift, but you must first be reconciled to others. Those who are not reconciled to men will not be able to offer a gift to God. You must “Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” Do you see the proper way? You must first go and be reconciled to your brother. What does it mean to be reconciled to one’s brother? It means to remove the brother’s wrath. You may need to either apologize or recompense. However, the point is to satisfy your brother. It is not a matter of adding one-fifth or one-tenth; it is a matter of reconciliation. Reconciliation means satisfying the other’s demand.

When you have offended and transgressed against your brother, when he is disturbed and feels that you are unrighteous, and when you have caused him to sigh before God, your spiritual fellowship with God is interrupted; your spiritual prospects are gone. You may not have the slightest feeling that you are in darkness, and you may feel that you are all right, but the gift you offer at the altar has become void. You cannot ask anything of God. You cannot even give anything to God. You cannot offer anything to God, much less receive any answer from Him. You may have offered up everything on the altar, but God is not pleased with any of it. Therefore, when you come to God’s altar, you must first be reconciled to your brother. Whatever demands he has, you must try your best to satisfy him. Learn to satisfy the righteous requirement of God as well as the righteous requirement of your brother. You can offer your gift to God only after you have done this. This is quite serious.

We should not offend others easily. In particular, we must not offend a brother or a sister lightly. If we offend a brother or a sister, we immediately fall under God’s judgment, and it is not easy to be recovered. In verse 25 the Lord emphasized, “Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him;” Here is a brother who has suffered injustice at our hand; he is not at peace before God. The Lord’s words to us are in human terms. Our brother is like a plaintiff in a court of law. The expression while you are with him on the way is wonderful. Today we are all still on the way. Our brother has not died and neither have we. He is here, and we are here. He is on the way, and we are also on the way. We have to be well disposed quickly with him. It is very easy for us to not be here someday; it is very easy for us to not be on the way. It is also very easy for our brother to not be here and to not be on the way. No one knows who will go first. By then it will be too late to do anything. While he and we are still on the way, that is, while both parties are still here, there is the opportunity to speak to one another and apologize. We should be reconciled to each other quickly. The door of salvation will not be open forever. The same is true with the door of mutual confession among the brothers. Brothers have often regretted that they lost their opportunity to confess to each other; the offended party is no longer on the way. If we have any offense toward men, we should seize whatever opportunity we have to be reconciled to them quickly while we are both still on the way. We do not know whether or not others will be here tomorrow. We also do not know whether or not we ourselves will be here tomorrow. Therefore, we have to be well disposed with the brothers while we are still on the way. Once one party is no longer on the way, it is impossible to settle the matter.

We have to realize how serious this matter is! You cannot be nonchalant or careless about it. While there is still today, be well disposed with your brother quickly! If you know that a brother has a complaint against you, you have to deal with it. You must try your best to apologize lest there be no opportunity to reconcile later.

Following this, the Lord speaks again in human terms, saying, “…lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison….” We will not go into biblical interpretation concerning the paying of the last farthing. We are only pointing out the practice of paying the last farthing. We have to see that this matter must be resolved properly. If we do not resolve it properly, the case will not be settled. The Lord is not speaking of a future judgment or of being thrown into and being released from an actual prison. The Lord’s emphasis is not on these things. His concern is that we would be reconciled today, that we would pay every farthing today, not putting the matter off until later. We must do this while we are still on the way. We must not put off the matter today and hope that it will be resolved later. This is unwise, and it does not pay to leave the matter to the future.

God’s children should learn this lesson well. We must make recompense when recompense is due and confession when confession is due. We should make recompense again and again and apologize again and again. We should not allow a brother or sister to harbor any complaint against us. If our conscience is pure, and the wrong is clearly not on our side, we can be at peace. Otherwise, if there is any wrongdoing on our part, we must confess. We must be above reproach in our conduct. We should not always think that others are wrong and we are right. It is certainly wrong to ignore the complaints of others and to instead insist that we are right.

IV. A FEW PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS

Repentance Confession List

First, the scope of your confession should be as wide as the scope of your offense. You should do everything according to God’s Word and should not take the extreme way. Do not overdo anything. Once you overdo, you will come under Satan’s attack. If you offend many people, you must confess to many people. If you offend only one individual, you should confess only to that individual. To confess to an individual when you have offended many people is to under-confess. To confess to many people when you have offended only one individual is to overdo. The scope of confession depends on the scope of offense. The scope of testifying is another matter. Sometimes you have offended one individual, but because you want to testify to the brothers and sisters, you tell them about it. That is another matter altogether. As far as apology and confession is concerned, it should only be according to the scope of the offense. We should not go beyond that scope. We have to pay particular attention to this point.

Second, our confession must be thorough. We must not hide anything to save our “face” or our interest. There are, of course, times when we have to exercise due care in the way we confess; we have to take care of the interest and benefit of others. Perhaps we only should confess that we have offended others in a general way without going into detail. If we have difficulties in making decisions in complicated situations, it is best for us to fellowship with some experienced brothers and sisters so that they can help us do the right thing.

Third, there may be times when you are unable to make the necessary recompense. However, the ability to recompense and the desire to recompense are two different things. Some may not be able to recompense, but at least they should have the desire to recompense. If one is unable to make recompense immediately, he should tell the offended one, “I want to recompense you, but I cannot do it today. Please bear with me; I will do it as soon as possible.”

Fourth, the law in the Old Testament states that if the rightful recipient of one’s recompense has passed away and has left no relatives to accept the recompense, it should go to the priests who serve Jehovah (Num. 5:8). According to this principle, if the recipient of your recompense is no longer available, the recompense should go to his relatives. If he has no relatives, you should give it to the church. If you can make recompense to someone, you should give it to him or to his relatives. You cannot give it to the church for the sake of convenience. However, if someone wants to make confession but the offended party has passed away and there seems to be no opportunity to confess, he can confess the matter to the church according to this principle.

Fifth, after making confession you need to make sure that you are not condemned in your conscience. It is possible for one’s conscience to suffer repeated condemnation even after he has confessed. We must be clear that the Lord’s blood has cleansed our conscience. His death has given us a conscience that is void of offense before God and has enabled us to draw near to God. All these are facts. However, we must see that in order to be clean before man, we need to deal with many sins. We need to settle all offenses in material things as well as in other matters. But we should not allow Satan to condemn us excessively.

Sixth, confession is related to physical healing. James 5:16 says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” The result of confession is often God’s healing. Sickness often comes in when there are hindrances among God’s children. If we confess our sins one to another, our sickness will be healed.

Hopefully, the brothers and sisters will be thorough in the matter of confession and recompense. This is the way to maintain their purity. If anyone has transgressed against man, he should confess his sins to God on the one hand, and he must deal with the matter seriously with man on the other hand. Only then will his conscience remain bold. When the conscience is bold, a person can make considerable progress in his spiritual pursuit.

(Note – this lesson is probably one of the most important of all the lessons that we have posted in BORN AGAIN LESSONS.  It is a principle that has prevailed in every revival I have ever read about, from the revival of the Hebrides to those great revivals in America of Jonathan Edwards and Charles G. Finney.  I know Christians that have offended a friend or family member and their attitude is “we will leave it up go God in heaven one day.”  These people are totally wrong and that attitude causes the offended person to suffer and sigh daily  before  God.  Sadly enough, sometimes the one who offended will die suddenly and never have a chance to make things right.  I truly believe that if that is the case and a family member knows of the offense, that family member should act in behalf of the one who has gone on to Heaven and try as best they can to make things right before God and to the one or ones offended.  One of the biggest reasons why revival does not come in America or in other countries is because of the stubborn attitude of Christians that causes them to think that if they confess to God in private that they don’t need to confess to the offended party.  Little do they know that God cannot answer their prayers or bless them in this life until this matter is settled and it must be settled as soon as it can be done or there may not be another chance to settle the matter.  I pray that anyone reading this will look back at your life and try to remember if there is any person that is offended by something you have done or said, or by something you wrote or shared with another person that was then relayed back to the offended party.  Take care of it today and you will not regret it.  I will never forget a message that was preached by Dr. Jack Hyles while he was alive.  He said that at the end of our lives we will say one of two things,  either “Would God I had…” or “Thank God I did….”  Don’t let yourself come to the end of life saying, “Would God I had made things right with the offended party.”)

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Written originally by Watchman Nee in China during the Chinese revolution and died in a prison camp but these lessons have been the foundation of my life for 38 years.  David Williams – site Admin.

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