Summary: This sermon teaches us to resolve conflict in Christian love. When Jesus is "Lord" of our lives, He is Lord of the positive aspects of life - as well as the negative.
Inviting Jesus into your conflicts
“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. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Years ago, a large statue of Jesus was erected high in the Andes Mountains on the border between Argentina and Chile. Called "Christ of the Andes," the statue symbolized a promise between the two countries that as long as the statue stands, there will be peace between them. Not long after it was built, the Chileans got angry and wanted to forget that promise – you see - the statue had its back turned to Chile. Just when tempers were at their highest, a newspaperman saved the day. In an editorial that not only satisfied the people but made them laugh, he simply said, "The people of Argentina need more watching over than the Chileans.”
A cute store illustrating a shameful reality – how quickly we can get bent out of shape with one another. Often over something silly, we can forget our relationships and treat people as enemies. We wear our feelings on our sleeves… words that linger in our minds… actions we suspect for the worst… and the next thing you know, we are all wadded up with each other. And what’s WORSE, the Lord’s people choose to behave no differently than the world when these disagreements arise. We want God’s blessings… we WANT the Lord to hear our prayers… but we DON’T want Him telling us how to manage our conflicts. Any restraint the Holy Spirit offers us we set aside in favor of getting in the last shot or letting everyone else know how we’ve been wronged. But here’s the deal, if we fail to obey the Lord’s directions regarding how we handle conflict, what RIGHT do we have to expect His blessings?? Why would we assume things would turn out well for us?
So… what would Jesus have us do?? When our feelings are hurt, when there is tension in the air, He would have us do 3 things that may not ALWAYS lead to peace with people – but at least we will have peace in our hearts knowing we did what the Lord expected us to do. 3 things. What are they??
1. First, He would have us Be Proactive in settling conflict. Proactive. Jesus said in v. 15, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault” You can’t get any clearer than that.