If Thy Brother Trespass Against Thee

All my life, I believed that if you loved someone, there would be no real problems in your relationship. Compassion, caring, and love will make everything work out eventually. I believed that, why not?

I did not believe that relationships would be perfect, but rather that they could get better and better every day. Not only that, but I imagined that when others saw your love for them, their hearts would melt, and they would desire to make their relationship with you whole.

And, in a way, I still believe this.

But what I did not realize at the time (and we are talking about when I was very young) was that people around me would choose to hate. I do not mean some imagined persecution or whatever; what I mean is that they would decide to believe what they knew was not true or could not be true for the express purpose of making sure that their relationship with me would be destroyed.

Has that ever happened to you? I would imagine so.

Naturally, that never worked for them. I’m the type of person who is always looking for a way to make things right.

Today, this type of person is often looked down upon or made fun of – but not by everyone. They will call you names, say bad things about you, try to turn your genuine feelings into anything else – but why?

Now and then, someone will rightly tell me to take it personally. This is the correct thing to do because it is accurate. However, I knew then that all offenses, all sins, are actually against God. So, in this respect, it is much better to take the offense. But why?

My grandfather would tell me that I was not treated like everyone else by certain people. I suppose that he was under the impression that I did not know or could not see. And, in a way, he was right. Not because I lived in a fantasy world, but rather because I knew the Word of God on these matters.

I knew it was better to try to see these things from God’s point of view. Verses like these…

Matthew 18:7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
Luke 17:1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!

Told me that people will offend you, and on purpose, but you are not supposed to be the one that is doing the offending.

Even back then, I knew this to be a problematic, because these were people who chose to be offended by my mere existence. Whether it was my lifestyle, or my religion, or chosen walk with the Lord, something had offended them – and will always offend them.

But why? The answers are rarely simple.

Some of this has to do with forgiveness. We are to forgive others if they repent.

Luke 17:3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

A couple of reasons why this is important to remember are that:

  1. None of us is perfect; all of us will at some point fail. I will probably offend someone, either intentionally or unintentionally, because of my failure or failures.
  2. In this verse, the word “trespass” means “sins.” Some people desire to hurt others, or perhaps they want to get what they want, regardless of how or if they hurt others, or even themselves. And that’s too bad. They should not be that way, but it is their choice.

What I am trying to say is that people will intentionally hurt you, but try not to be one of those people yourself.

In general, I’m not very concerned with people who hurt me unintentionally, as long as I know and understand it was unintentional. It could be an accident, or perhaps they became too angry or too careless. A slip of the tongue, a harsh phrase – or maybe it is something that they thought I needed to hear but didn’t.

One time, I remember being confronted about a particular sin that I committed against someone. But there were a great many problems. One was that I never knew; I was never told, so naturally, this was a complete surprise. This came literally out of “nowhere.”

Another problem was that it made no sense. What I was being accused of was the complete opposite of what I had done. I searched my heart on the matter and found no reason for them to believe the things about me of which they accused me. But there was much more.

There was a great deal of real evidence to the contrary. Not only that, it was contrary to my life and contrary to the person that they knew me to be.

So why was I being accused of doing the exact, or nearly exact, opposite of who I was and the opposite of what I had done? Sure, there could have been a misunderstanding, but how? If there was one, I never found it, and they never found it. And how does one “misunderstand” when they have evidence to the contrary but no evidence of their accusation?

This was all compounded when there were others who decided to believe this same thing about me despite the same contrary evidence.

For me, “it did not compute,” but I knew why.

I loved them; I truly loved them all. So I would not make choices like these against them. I tried to always look for evidence to the contrary, even if I did not see any or knew that there was no evidence that could exonerate them. Also, I would look for excuses for them and try to find a reason why their offense might have occurred.

The idea was to try to keep the relationship together, to make it better, stronger, more loving, and frankly, more lovely. Of course, this is not what they wanted or imagined. It is not what they chose.

Jesus is the Word of God, and it teaches us that all sin is really against God. We may sin against another, or they may sin against us, but it all comes back to God.

Let us take a look at what Joseph, the son of Jacob, said when he was similarly accused. Joseph was accused of adultery when, in fact, he fled from it. This is what he told his master’s wife when she tried to get him to sin with her against his master (for Joseph was a slave at the time)…

Genesis 39:8 But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth [knows] not what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand;
Genesis 39:9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither has he kept back any thing from me but you, because you are his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?

The second greatest commandment is…

Leviticus 19:18 “…, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.”

When we sin against someone else, we are actually sinning against the Lord. The Old Testament is full of such examples. This example is rather interesting. See Joshua 7:10 – 26.

Joshua 7:20 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done:

Or when David sinned with Bathsheba, see Psalms 51.

Psalms 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

There are a great many examples, but sometimes we get a closer look.

In Achan’s case, his sin might appear harmless to some, but Israel had made a deal with God, and Achan caused them to break it. This caused the deaths of many.

King David’s sin may have appeared to be against Uriah the Hittite. In this instance, David slept with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, and then he tried to cover it up by sending Uriah into the thick of battle, where he was eventually killed. David ordered others to help him commit this sin and to help him try to cover it up.

But in both cases (Achan and David), they confessed that their sins were committed only against God. This is true, whether they confessed it or not.

When we choose to sin, it is ultimately against God.

This is how God sees such sins, no matter how we want to interpret them or how we decide to look at them. God created us, and He loves us. God’s command to love your neighbor as yourself should not be necessary, and the fact that the command must exist indicates that there is something seriously wrong with us.

We sin because we were born into sin.

Therefore, if we love God, we must strive to overcome our sins. Since this is not possible, we must rely on God for His help, kindness, and compassion. The only way to accomplish this is to allow God to rule our lives; we must make Him our Lord.

Do you think the world will love you if you act like this?

Remember when Jesus preached this?

Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Jesus said these things because, ultimately, their attack against you is actually an attack against God and against Jesus Christ.

But why? Christ died for all; Christ died so that everyone could go to heaven. And yet, there are some who do not want God’s love because they do not want God. God is Truth, Love, Life, Light, and the Way of Salvation.

Our lives belong to God. God gave us life, and God gives us love. It is only fitting that we give our lives to Him and that we love Him with our hearts, minds, and all our strength.

And if we love God, we will not sin against others. When we fail, we will stop sinning, confess our sins, and repent of our sins with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. For those who do such things, God is near.

Psalms 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
Psalms 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

This is why everyone will be held guilty for crucifying God’s Son, Jesus Christ. This is why everyone is sentenced to die and go to Hell. There is no hope for any of us; there is no way of salvation except for God’s love. Because God loved us, He made a way of Salvation – He is our hope, our Lord, our God, and our Savior.

Jesus Christ lived a perfect life for us that we could never live. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Those who love God will escape from Hell, as they will be redeemed by Him. They will be washed in the blood of Christ, and they will be made clean.

Therefore, love one another as God has loved us.

Because these are the Last Days, here is something more to think about…

The Last Days will be like the days of Noah. Because of their great sin, God had to destroy everyone. Yet Noah found grace in the eyes of God. For this reason, God saved his wife, his children, and their wives, as well as the animals.

When judgment came in the Great Flood, only those sealed in the Ark survived. Once the door of the Ark was shut, there was no hope or salvation for those outside. Yet salvation had always been there for them, for a great many years.

Ezekiel 14:14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.
Ezekiel 14:20 Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.

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