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Summary: EOLS: Jesus teaches us to address conflicts with our brother (sister) quickly and to follow four steps toward resolution. (sermon is preparation for Communion as written)

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Matthew 18:15-20

(15) "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.

(16) 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.

(17) 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.

(18) 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.

(19) 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. (20) For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them."

Mat 18:21-22

(21) Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?"

(22) Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.

“Against me” is genuine here. (Robertson)

“The man who asks such a question does not really know what forgiveness means” (Plummer).

Some people don’t deal with conflict so well…

Sacramento, Calif.—A man who hit his wife with a frozen squirrel was jailed on suspicion of spousal abuse, police said Monday. Kao Khae Saephan, 26, had been arguing with his wife early Monday morning when he walked into the kitchen and took several frozen squirrels from the freezer, police spokeswoman Betsy Braziel said. The woman told police that when she walked in the room, her husband swung the squirrels at her and struck her in the head with at least one of them. She fell against a table and received a one-inch cut above her eye, Braziel said. Saephan was booked into the county jail.

Spokesman-Review, 12-17-1991

French novelist and playwright Alexandre Dumas once had a heated quarrel with a rising young politician. The argument became so intense that a duel was inevitable. Since both men were superb shots they decided to draw lots, the loser agreeing to shoot himself. Dumas lost. Pistol in hand, he withdrew in silent dignity to another room, closing the door behind him. The rest of the company waited in gloomy suspense for the shot that would end his career. It rang out at last. His friends ran to the door, opened it, and found Dumas, smoking revolver in hand.

“Gentlemen, a most regrettable thing has happened,” he announced. “I missed.”

Today in the Word, Moody Bible Institute, Jan., 1992, p. 33

How to Turn a Disagreement into a Feud

1. Be sure to develop and maintain a healthy fear of conflict, letting your own feelings build up so you are in an explosive frame of mind.

2. If you must state your concerns, be as vague and general as possible. Then the other person cannot do anything practical to change the situation.

3. Assume you know all the facts and you are totally right. The use of a clinching Bible verse is helpful. Speak prophetically for truth and justice; do most of the talking.

4. With a touch of defiance, announce your willingness to talk with anyone who wishes to discuss the problem with you. But do not take steps to initiate such conversation.

5. Latch tenaciously onto whatever evidence you can find that shows the other person is merely jealous of you.

6. Judge the motivation of the other party on any previous experience that showed failure or unkindness. Keep track of any angry words.

7. If the discussion should, alas, become serious, view the issue as a win/lose struggle. Avoid possible solutions and go for total victory and unconditional surrender. Don’t get too many options on the table.

8. Pass the buck! If you are about to get cornered into a solution, indicate you are without power to settle; you need your partner, spouse, bank, whatever. Ron Kraybill, quoted in Tell it to the Church, Lynn Buzzard, David C. Cook, 1982, p. 23

Larry Crabb wrote “The difference between spiritual and unspiritual community is not whether conflict exists, but is rather in our attitude toward it and our approach to handling it. When conflict is seen as an opportunity to draw more fully on spiritual resources, we have the makings of spiritual community.”

EOLS: Jesus teaches us to address conflicts with our brother (sister) quickly and to follow four steps toward resolution.

“Why can’t we all just get along?” (Rodney King)

Well the reason is simple: As long as we live in a world of sin and strife, conflicts and offenses will be a reality of life in the Kingdoms of this World. It seems to me that it’s near impossible to avoid some kind of conflict for any length of time. You might be fortunate and go a few days free, but trust me, it will come!

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