Less Fret, More Faith
Unresolved Conflict – Part 3
Scripture Reading: Matthew 18:16-20
Key Verse: Matthew 18:15
“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.
As we continue to look at Jesus’ four-step plan for handling unresolved conflict, I want you to note His beginning statement: “If your brother sins against you…” (Matthew 18:15). Jesus is pointing to our perspective of the matter, what we believe. It’s obvious by Jesus’ four steps that the other person may have another perspective. We must sit down with a person and discuss the situation with the graciousness that includes both perspectives.
The third step that Jesus suggests, if we can’t reconcile after meeting individually, and then with one or two other mediators: Come before the church. In this step we allow our brothers and sisters in the Lord to help us reconcile with the other person. In modern terms, I believe Jesus would specify that it would be the spiritual leaders of the church. This might look like a modern day intervention, where many trusted people could speak into the lives of two people who are hurting and need help seeing their own shortcomings!
Finally, Jesus unfolds the most extreme step which says that if the person doesn’t heed his church leader’s advice, treat him as an unbeliever. What would that look like? Well, let’s see how Jesus treated pagans and tax collectors. The New Testament lets us know He reached out to them; kept loving them but demanded change in them. He lovingly looked at the woman caught in adultery and said: Neither do I condemn you but go and sin no more!
Father, give me the courage to deal with relational conflict when it comes into my life. May I imitate Jesus in all my ways. In Jesus’ Name, amen.