Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Speak In A Private Manner

"Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”  Matthew 5:23-24

The Bible commends us to the task of reconciliation.  Whether it is with a family member, friend or Christian brother or sister, we are not only encouraged to reconcile our differences but commanded to.  We continue with John’s direction about properly handling a dispute with another in the church. 

1.    Speak In A Private Manner - I had many things to write to you, but I am not willing to write them to you with pen and ink; but I hope to see you shortly, and we will speak face to face.
                 3 John 1:13-14

Some things just do not need to be written or addressed over the phone.  While there a lot of ways to talk to people such as over the phone, by email, twitter, instant messaging, letter or through another person; the best way to communicate with someone that you have a conflict with is face to face.  All other methods just do not have the same impact or influence to bring closure to a conflict.  We need to see them face to face.

Sometimes the conflict is very public and involves many people.  Such would be the case with a debate over a theological issue or doctrinal stance of the church.  This should not be done in blogs and private emails and letters but the parties should debate this publicly so all can benefit from the understanding.  Paul openly addressed Peter in Antioch when he had refused to sit with Gentile believers but had chosen to sit only with Jews.  When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.  (NIV) Galatians 2:11  The offence was public and so was their discussion.
Sometimes sincere Christians and even Christian leaders make mistakes.  It may take other sincere Christians to help get them back on track.  If you are convinced that someone is doing harm to themselves or to the church, try the direct approach but do so with grace.

Other times the offense is personal and should be handled that way but still face to face to avoid any mixed signals and bring closure.  If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. "But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 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.”  Matthew 18:15-17

Again, the direction of our communication when in conflict is to the individual who is either in trouble with sin or is offending you.  Offended individuals who do not properly deal with their hurt will hurt others.  Believers are not immune to conflict with one another.  Issues of the faith are often emotional issues.  The fact there is the priesthood of the believer allowing each one to interpret God’s words gives great authority across a wide spectrum as believers grow in the understanding of their faith and practice.
John’s handling of these men is a good example of how to deal with relationships and different 

personalities.  He was known as the Beloved Disciple due to his love.  I am certain that the law of love applied to all he did.  May we learn from him in our relationships.

Scripture to Claim:
Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;  Hebrews 12:14-15

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