Imagine, what would happen if someone came to you personally and privately (Matthew 18) to chat about something they held against you. And you actually listened. Responded, “I’m so sorry you felt that way. It was never my intention and I would never knowingly be mean, vindictive, or harsh. I didn’t realize I hurt you. Please forgive me and let’s make this right.”
The culture of honor, where God lives and people thrive, exists through preserving respect and honor. This verse is specific to the need to privately point out the offense. On Friday, The situation completely blew up due to the lack of a private and honest conversation between the leader and the women who were “concerned.”
By the way, I hate the word "concerned" coming out of a believer. When someone brings something to you and says, “I’m concerned.” Run for the hills. It’s never going to be a good thing. It’s a cloaked word that really means I don’t trust you. You need to prove yourself to me and if you are very, very convincing I might change my mind about the condemnation and judgement I’ve already set against you. (Just my perspective.)
However, taking a conflict to a person and talking it out in private leaves the door open to relationship. To love. To honor and unity. Taking this action leads to the last half of Matthew 18:15. You win that person back… Back to love. Back to relationship. Back to community. Back to Kingdom! Hallelujah.
This is the goal of Jesus words here. Unity, love, and family. This is a culture of honor.
Therefore, let us carefully consider these words spoken by Christ, and put them into practice. Sin and conflict in the church are inevitable. But, if we handle sin Christ’s way: peace, sanctification, forgiveness, the result will be the preservation of reputations and the deepening of trustful relationships. If we handle conflict and sin our way, we can expect chaos, warfare and divisions in the church.
Once again, awareness is 75% of the battle. Catching yourself in the midst of going into conflict and examining your motives then determining to bring honor to your life and the life with whom you are in disagreement, is the way to resolve these difficulties.
Okay, here is the hard part of today’s teaching. Whom are you in conflict with in your heart? Is there a possibility that you need to pray and approach that person one-on-one to seek resolution?
I know this is simplifying situations. There are relationships which are very unhealthy and so many of us have taken every step possible to seek reconciliation, but to no avail. And there are relationships that any attempt to reconcile only opens up more conflict and pain. But, today, I’m asking our Church Without Walls, is there someone in your life, online, at your local church, or in the neighborhood that you are holding an offense?
Ask the Lord if this is the season of reconciliation. Seek His wisdom before you proceed. Not all forgiveness means a restoration of a relationship. So much of forgiveness is tearing down the prison walls which we have constructed about us. Pray about it a lot. Fast and pray. Many in our SUM community are fasting today. I’m fasting for at least 24 hours. Join in.
If you are in the process, leave me a quick note (No details) just a note that you are going to seek resolution. I will pray to cover you with the wisdom of heaven and the peace and a spirit of reconciliation. In Jesus name. AMEN
See you Friday where we address what to do if one-on-one reconciliation isn’t possible.
LOVE YOU MY SUMites!! Have a great weekP
PS: I'm chatting with Ian Atcheson this Wednesday at 3 pm. Pacific on Facebook Live. Tune in and meet one of our long-time writers.