How to deal with offenders?
We are all human, so offenses will happen, but our Savior pronounces woe on the person who offends and causes others to sin. Anyone who leads others into sin bears great guilt. Only a deep-seated wickedness attempts to confuse and destroy another’s potential.
Lets look at Matthew 18:6 (King James Version)
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Anyone who causes a Christian who manifests this childlike attitude to sin, or who places anything in his way to impede his faithfulness, would be better off being weighted down and thrown to his death into the sea. It would be better for him to die before committing such a sin. Christ regards injuring or causing a weak Christian to sin as a very serious offence (Romans 14:19-23; I Corinthians 8:9-13).
1 Corinthians 10:32 says Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God
Notice that the apostle Paul is writing to church members, advising them not to offend fellow church members! And what did Jesus say on the subject?
Then (at the end time) shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. (Matthew 24:9-10)
He tells us of a future time when people will offend each other—to the point of betrayal! What else does our Savior tell us about offenses? Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” (Luke 17:1-2)
Who are “these little ones”? Usually, this term would refer to children and to the newer members and attendees of God’s church. But the term might also refer to those who perhaps tend to be a little more sensitive than most. So, if Jesus says that it is impossible that no offenses should come, then how should we handle those offenses when they do come?
Keep in mind that, no matter which side of the fence we are on—whether we are the offended or the offender—it will not be easy. Solomon writes in Proverbs 18:19, “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle.”
What should we do if a fellow church member offends us? Should we immediately go running to the local minister and demand that the offender be removed from the fellowship? Of course not! Instead, we are to use Jesus Christ’s four-step plan, which He gives us in Matthew 18:15-17.
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.
Certainly, this may not be the most pleasant way of resolving the problem. It would be much easier to just give it to the minister and let him resolve it. But this is the method that Jesus commands His brothers and sisters to use.