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Hit the Mark Together by Abi Ruelo

Habakkuk 1:2-4 says, ”How long, O Lord, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but you do not come to save. Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. The law has become paralyzed, and there is no justice in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted.“ The prophet is lamenting and asking God until when he must see and endure the suffereings in the world. He feels that darkness has enveloped the light. He also feels like God is not doing anything because even the courts of justice are not working in his favor. Most of the time, when you feel that God is silent and is not answering your prayers, He is, all the more, working for the goodness that is about to come.

Sometimes, people do not want to be called out for the wrong things they are doing. Likewise, many people just want to shrug off the wrongdoings of others. They do not mind each others’ businesses and just go about living their own lives. But that should not be the case. As you go through this season of Lent, you should not only remember your sins but the sins of your neighbors as well because you alone cannot succeed in this fallen world.

What are the sins of the world anyway? There are too many to mention. But when you think about it, you really cannot do much to save the planet from its destruction. The best thing for you to do is to start small in your own little corner of the world.

After the family, the church is like your next of kin. It’s members are closest especially when you are part of a dgroup and are accountable to one another. They even know more about you than your other family members. That is why sometimes, even in sin, believers are in it altogether.

Sin is missing the mark. If in a dartboard, the mark is the bull’s eye in the middle, an inch, a centimeter, or even a millimeter away from it is missing the mark. It is sin. And anything that makes you miss the mark separates you from God. Who among you does not commit any sin in a day? Nobody. Everybody misses the mark every single day. But that does not mean that you do not belong in the church.

God is so good that He gives so many chances to His children so that they could get up from their sinful state and run back into His loving arms. Although it feels like it at times, it is not the end of the world when you sin. The most difficult thing is when people ask for justice for wrongdoings like the world does. They become righteous and feel like they do not commit mistakes anymore. That is where they go wrong.

So what should a believer do if he sins? Is he supposed to look for a new church and start from scratch again there? Of course not. A Christian should:

  1. Confess his sins - 1 John 1:19 says, ”If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” In other religions, you need to confess your sins to a priest. But as a Christian, you can confess them directly to God or look for a fellow believer so they could check on you. Confession releases you from the holds of the enemy. A secret sin is easier to repeat because nobody knows about it. If you confess it and somebody knows about it, you will be more likely to stop doing it because you are being checked and looked upon by others.

  2. Continue to fellowship with other believers - Hebrews 10:25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.“ This is one of the biggest mistakes believers make. When they sin, they shy away from the church and stay in isolation thinking that they are not wanted anymore. They hide in shame. Although, somtimes, this may be the case, all the more they should push themselves to fellowship with people who are right with the Lord. You should keep on fellowshipping and meeting with people who can spur you up and push you back up. Find you people.

  3. Pray continually - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 says, “Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Prayer is a weapon. The person who prays every minute has more chances of resisting temptation than the one who only prays before eating. In everything you do, pray about it. Make everything you do glorifying to God.

What should believers do when someone in their midst sins? Paul gives clear instructions on what to do when someone in the church sins. Matthew 18:15-17 says, ”“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.“ And what do you do to a pagan or a corrupt tax collector? Forgive them still even if they do not deserve it because that is what Jesus would have done.

  1. Restore them gently - Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Believers who live by the Spirit possess the fruits of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Having this, you should be able to push a sinner back to his sinless state. But in 1 Corinthians 10:12, Paul also gives a warning not to be too confident in your standing because you also might fall while correcting a believer who has sinned.

  2. Provide for accountability - Hebrews 13:17 says, ”Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” This is the reason why the church pushes its members to have a dgroup. It is where you can open up your strengths and your weaknesses too. Having a dgroup is doing life with other people, aside from the members of your family.

  3. Love them - Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ, God forgave you.” This is the biggest example given. It says forgive each other just as in Christ, God forgave you. GOd gave His only Son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross to save you from eternal damnation. You cannot do it on your own. It is only out of the overflow of your heart that you can truly forgive the people who have hurt you the most. It is only by being so intimate with Jesus that you can have it in your heart to forgive even the most painful hurt that you have in your life. You can’t. But God surely can.

Matthew 18 tells about the parable of the unforgiving servant - how the master forgave his servant for the bags of gold that he owed him and how the same servant did not forgive his fellow servant who only owed him a minimal amount of silver coins. It is just like you. Jesus forgave all of your sins, past, present and future. But why can you not forgive your fellow believer who has wronged you?  Love is the answer to all of this. If you can love like the way Jesus loves you, then you can also forgive the way He does.


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