Scripture: Matthew 18:15 “If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. 16 But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Observation: Jesus’ teaching here about church discipline is incredibly important, yet often ignored.
Application: Verse 15 instructs us to deal directly with a person who offends us to work it out one-on-one. That’s the FIRST step in working out a personal conflict. Unfortunately, this isn’t what often happens. Too often someone who is offended doesn’t talk to the alleged offender, but talks with NUMEROUS OTHER people first. “Do you know what (so-and-so) did to me? Well, let me tell you…” I’ve seen offended persons get an entire community riled up while the alleged offender still has no idea what they supposedly did or didn’t do. THIS. IS. WRONG.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, living in community is a great blessing, but can also be a great challenge. We inevitably butt heads from time to time. When this happens, give those who are offended grace to speak directly with the offender to resolve the matter. And give those who offend grace to admit their wrong and ask forgiveness. In this way, Christian community can flourish. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.