Matthew 18 - who are the "witnesses"?
Posted: Wed May 19, 2010 11:22 pm
This is an article I have kept around for a while. It seemed to me to have value and expresses a Bible truth we all need to understand. I think this can have bearing on the Matt 18 Topic and the difficulty of resolving differences where there are no witnesses to the sin -- but only to an accusation (BTW, They don't have to be an elder to be victim of what is dealt with below).
From: Bryan Matthew Dockens <BryanDockens@gmail.com>
To: Biblelist <Biblelist@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Sun, 10 May 2009 3:34 am
Subject: [biblelist] "The First One To Plead His Cause Seems Right"
“THE FIRST ONE TO PLEAD HIS CAUSE SEEMS RIGHT”
Bryan Matthew Dockens
“The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him” (Proverbs 18:17). Wise Solomon observed the reflexive tendency on the part of man to accept as truth the first version of events presented in a potential controversy.When gossip circulates through the workplace, the neighborhood, or even the church, the first version of events is usually presumed to be true. This is so because “The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body” (Proverbs 18:8). Just as a well prepared meal will go untouched by a child who has spoiled his dinner with a bag of candy,similarly the truth holds no interest for those willing to accept rumors.The “other side of the story” may never be heard, and even when it is, it is often disregarded as a weak defense against the supposed facts already established in everyone’s minds.For this reason, it is imperative to refrain from spreading rumors in th efirst place. “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases” (Proverbs 26:20).God commanded, “You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people”(Leviticus 19:16). The behavior of a “busybody” is described as“disorderly” (2nd Thessalonians 3:11) because “gossips and busybodies” are those who say “things which they ought not” (1st Timothy 5:13). And, Paul exposed the wickedness of “whisperings” (Romans 1:29; 2nd Corinthians 12:20)insomuch as gossip thrives on whispers while the truth demands an open hearing.When a dispute must be resolved, both accounts deserve fair consideration.The Pharisees opposed Jesus, but Nicodemus correctly asked, “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” (John 7:51).The will of God in such cases is plain: “Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1st Thessalonians 5:21), for “He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him” (Proverbs 18:13).
-- Vegas Valley Church Of CHRIST: www.vvcoc.info