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Most conflicts can be resolved in this stage, if we will have the courage and care enough about another person to take that first step. But what if they offender doesn’t want to discuss it or doesn’t want to make the relationship right? Then go to the next step.
Step #2: Take Witnesses.
These witnesses are there for the same reason; to bring reconciliation. It is not to gang up on the person! In fact, we should involve others only when going alone did not bring a healing.
What are we talking about? A mediator. A neutral person. Someone who can help keep emotions in check and help clarify the issues.
If that doesn’t bring resolution, then the next step comes into the picture. The third step is the most drastic.
Step #3: Take it to the church.
Notice it does not specifically say, “Make an announcement from the pulpit.” In some extreme cases, that may be necessary, especially if there is continual, confirmed, unconfessed sin. So who does it refer to?
1 Corinthians 6:1-8. Gather some wise men from the church. This is where the elders, the saints, the people from the church should get involved. Again, the goal is reconciliation.
What if that does not work either? Some conflicts will not be resolved. Then step four is to break off the relationship. If you cannot reach agreement or even agree to disagree, then separation is called for.
Jesus said to treat them as a pagan or tax collector. Does that mean treat them like scoundrels? No. Jesus loved pagans and tax collectors. He walked in love with them in the hope of winning them over.
Romans 12:18. “If it is possible” indicates that it may not be. “As far as it depends on you” means that you only have to do your part. “live at peace” is the goal for how you are to live.
If you have someone who refused to be reconciled to you, ask yourself these questions, “Do I long to be reconciled?” “Do I still act in love with this person?” If so, then you are doing your part. It is now up to the other person.
The result will be the right atmosphere.
When we deal with conflict appropriately, we see positive results in our lives and in our church.
Answered prayer. (v.19)
(v.20) The Lord’s presence. “Where two or three come together in my name” is in the context of resolving conflict.
Right after this teaching, Peter asks Jesus about forgiving others. That is the key to resolving most conflicts. Forgiveness. We have been forgiven much by God, and therefore we must forgive others who wrong us.
It is said that Leonardo da Vinci, when painting the Last Supper, painted Judas’ face as the face of someone with whom he was angry. But he found that he could not paint the face of Jesus until he changed the face of Judas. Remember the Lord’s prayer: “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”
Conflict will come, even in the church. But what are you and I going to do when it comes? We must start by walking in brokenness and humility. Are you walking in love today in your attitude toward others, even those who have wronged you?
Is there someone that you need to go to privately? Make the effort to find healing in the relationship.
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