Need for Closing Ranks

Jesus calls for initiative from his disciples. It is one thing to bemoan scandalous news-headlines and to regret situations close to home. It’s quite another to initiate action; but that’s what he calls for:
“Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him;
And if he repents, forgive him . . .” (Luke 17:1-3, NASB)
At first, Jesus had only opened the scope to disciples amongst themselves/ourselves. He orders us then—with authority accompanying it—to exercise release amongst ourselves.
But that’s scary. It’s messy. To confront one another; and (if/when there’s repentance) to release each other—“forgive him.” But that’s exactly what is called for in covenant-community; in families; in marriages. (See chapter 15.) This releasing, as we know, is even more difficult when the offense happens again and again—a pattern (“. . seven times a day . . ” Luke 17:1-4). To confront sinful patterns—even among close friends—requires chutzpah, especially among any of us trying to come out of addictive, hedonistic life-styles.
Elaborating then further on the importance of restoration, Jesus lists steps to help us release each other out of such situations, and with it gave his people specific authority to discipline and dis-fellowship—whenever that becomes necessary for restoration (Matt. 18:15-18), Practically, that means, for one thing, the need for congregations to learn to close ranks with one another—to network together—so that those under discipline can’t run from place to place.
(Taken from chapter 7, “Grace, as Delegated Authority”.)