If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.
Devotion based on Matthew 18:15
See series: Devotions
Essayist Leah Hickman has spoken to what she sees as a growing fear in our society. It’s the fear of the awkward moment—the fear of experiencing what follows in the presence of someone else when you need to raise a difficult subject or when you have to deal with a difficult situation. No one ever enjoys awkward moments, of course. But Hickman makes the case that, somewhere along the line, uncomfortableness has grown into outright fear.
It can be fun recounting awkward moments. They’re part of life. On the other hand, a fearful impulse to avoid the awkward at any cost is nothing to smile about. Hickman cites an older gentleman who’s observed, “It seems as if fear of awkwardness has become a barrier to doing the right thing.”
All of which brings us to Jesus, and his unapologetic love for every soul. When the Lord puts me in a position to speak in loving concern to someone about a specific sin—a specific sin that threatens to create spiritual harm in all kinds of ways—such a moment is tailor-made to be awkward. In all candor, you and I must confess to our Lord that there have been all kinds of times when we have retreated from speaking the truth in love—often from a simple fear of the awkward.
When fear of the awkward has been our motivation, however, you and I must also confess that we have been guilty of placing our own precious comfort zones ahead of a precious soul for whom Jesus died. I am placing my convenience ahead of someone else’s need. And that is a profound wrong.
But that’s when I remember that Jesus’ blood not only washes away the sins of the whole world. He washes away my sins too—including my sin of neglecting a precious soul.
And so let’s take a walk to the cross. Be washed in the blood of God’s Son. And as we see what he was willing to suffer to save us, may it make us willing to move out of our comfort zones, when necessary, to warn others about the sins that endanger their souls.
Lord, my fear of awkward moments has often overpowered me. Forgive me and renew my zeal to love others enough to warn them about sins that separate them from you. Amen.