Explore the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 18:15-20 on conflict resolution, forgiveness, and unity, emphasizing the liberating power of forgiveness.
Good morning, Church! It's a joy to be together again to delve into the rich treasures of God's Word. Today, we are going to examine a passage from the Gospel of Matthew, that speaks directly to our hearts about dealing with conflict, embracing forgiveness, and moving forward in unity.
Before we dive in, I want to share a quote from Lewis B. Smedes, "Forgiveness is the act of setting someone free and discovering that the prisoner was you." This quote will set the tone for our discussion today, as we explore the liberating power of forgiveness.
Our scripture reading today is from Matthew 18: 15-20:
Let's bow our heads for a moment of prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for your Word that guides and directs us. We pray that as we study this passage today, you would open our hearts and minds, that we may understand your teachings on conflict resolution, forgiveness, and unity. Guide our conversation and help us to apply these truths in our daily lives. In Jesus' name, we pray, Amen.
Alright, let's get started.
Facing conflict with compassion is a concept that Jesus himself taught and practiced, and it's one that we, as followers of Christ, are called to embody in our own lives.
The first step: According to Jesus it’s to approach the person who has sinned or caused offense privately. This is a crucial point because it highlights the importance of addressing the issue directly with the person involved, rather than gossiping or complaining to others. It's a call to have a face-to-face conversation, to express our feelings, and to give the other person an opportunity to explain, apologize, or make amends.
Requires a great deal of compassion: It's not easy to confront someone who has hurt us. It's even harder to do so with a spirit of love and understanding. But that's exactly what Jesus is asking us to do. He's asking us to put aside our anger, our pride, and our desire for revenge, and to approach the situation with a heart full of compassion. This doesn't mean that we ignore the offense or pretend that it didn't hurt. It means that we acknowledge the pain, but we choose to respond to it in a way that promotes healing and reconciliation, rather than further conflict and division.
Being willing to listen: When we approach someone who has hurt us, it's important that we don't just talk, but that we also listen. We need to hear their side of the story, their feelings, and their perspective. This can be difficult, especially when we're hurt and angry. But it's a crucial part of the process. By listening, we show the other person that we value them and their perspective. We show them that we're not just interested in being right or winning the argument, but that we genuinely want to understand and to find a solution.
The willingness to forgive: Jesus made it clear that forgiveness is a key part of dealing with conflict. When we forgive, we release the other person from the debt they owe us because of their offense. We let go of our right to retaliate or seek revenge. This is not easy. It requires a great deal of strength and humility. But it's the only way to truly resolve conflict and move forward.
Not a one-time event: It's a process that may take time and effort. It involves ongoing communication, understanding, and forgiveness. It's not easy, but it's worth it. Because when we face conflict with compassion, we're not just resolving a disagreement. We're building stronger, healthier relationships. We're becoming more like Jesus. And we're showing the world what it means to be a follower of Christ.
Pastor, here would be a good place to share a personal story about a time when you had a conflict with someone and you went through this first step successfully with God’s help. How did it affect your faith?
The power of forgiveness is a transformative force that can mend relationships, heal wounds, and restore unity ... View this full PRO sermon free with PRO