Matthew 18:15 tells us “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” There are more steps we can take to deal with those who sin, but this one is often very difficult for us to live up to. But like Jesus says, if the hearer responds well, good things will happen.

Don Shula answered this problem as well as anyone. As coach of the Miami Dolphins, he was talking to a reporter about a player’s mistake in practice. He said, “We never let an error go unchallenged. Uncorrected errors multiply.” Then the reporter said, “Isn’t there benefit in overlooking one small flaw?” Shula said, “What is a small flaw?” I think about that all day long. What is a small flaw? I see that with my children. I’ve let a lot of things slide by because I was too tired. I didn’t want another confrontation. But uncorrected errors do multiply. You’ve got to face them some day. You might as well face them on the spot. If I could do it over again with my children, I’d face the errors on the spot. It’s easier on them and on you. That works in relationships with anyone. If there’s something under the surface, something you sense, you might as well just bring it right out. Face it right then.” This is a pretty good paraphrase of Jesus’ instruction.

Bill Curry a lineman for the National Football League. Today he wears two Super Bowl rings. But in the spring of 1965, it was unclear whether he would ever wear an NFL uniform. He had been drafted by the Green Bay Packers of the Vince Lombardi era but was convinced he would never make the team unless he gave himself an edge. So, a few months before the tryouts, Curry began lifting weights and taking steroids. He went from 220 to 240 pounds in just a few weeks. When his father, a weightlifter, came to visit, Curry talked about his remarkable improvement. “It’s just incredible what these pills can do, Dad!” His father asked for the pills, walked to the bathroom, and poured them down the toilet. The younger Curry panicked. “What are you doing?” His father warned his son about steroids and how they would eventually destroy his body. Curry was shaken but convinced, and he never took steroids again. Today he simply says, “I’m so glad I had a father who loved me like that.”

“A voice from the cloud said, This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him. (Matthew 17:5)