How are we called to manage conflict when it arises in the church?
What happens when someone in our church behaves in a way that is harmful to others?
What do we do if they are harmful to themselves?
In this weekend’s scripture Jesus offers a method by which one is to confront a member who “sins.”
What encompasses sin may be debated and a bit subjective and a controversy all its own. What’s most important is the fact that a dynamic is occurring that causes distress and distance in our relationship with someone.
How do we handle it?
How does love triumph over such challenges?
Matthew’s Gospel points us to a process by which to be reconciled with another person. If you have an issue with someone, go to them and tell them what they have done to harm the relationship. If they don’t agree, then bring two or more witnesses so that the conversation can be witnessed by others to confirm the problem.
This follows a Jewish legal requirement described in Deuteronomy 19:15. It protects against bearing false witness against someone when an accusation is made. If no resolution can be reached, then one brings the issue to the whole congregation. This is a very powerful process that should not be taken lightly. The purpose is to achieve reconciliation, forgiveness, and restoration. In other words, it is meant to be a process that is rooted in God’s love.
It is painful to be told that you are doing something harmful, hurtful or inappropriate.
Such conversation needs to be rooted in gentleness.
A very wise and gentle pastor once told me that when a person who loves you confronts you about a bad behavior, it is more likely to result in change and restoration than when a person who is perceived to be uncaring does the same.
Confronting one another out of love grows relationships deeper through honest and trustworthy conversation. Believing is seeing that love really does get lived out in Christian community.
When we live these principles, faith grows and community flourishes.
I’ll hope to see you in worship this weekend!
The people of the Bible were a traveling people. From Adam and Eve who left Eden, to Abraham and Sarah who left their homeland, to Moses and the children of Israel who wandered for 40 years to reach the Promised Land, to Jesus who walked from Galilee to Judea, to Paul who traveled the Mediterranean Sea.
So we here at SOTP have two upcoming opportunities to do some traveling too! In the fall of 2018, we're planning a trip to Italy, Greece, and the Holy Land, exploring the special places of both Jesus (Bethlehem, the Sea of Galilee, and Jerusalem) and Paul (Corinth, Athens, Rome). And then in 2020, were looking at journeying to Germany to see the Passion Play in Oberammergau (performed every ten years), and the towns and cities of Martin Luther (Worms, Wittenberg, Augsburg).
If you're at all interested in either or both of these trips--even just a bit--come join us this Sunday, September 10, at 10:20 or 11:45. We'll spend one hour talking about what's involved in these journeys: the how, the when, the where, the who, the costs, and so on. Chuck and Sharon Little, along with Carolyn Cuttle and Pastor Bill we be there. We hope you will be too! (Note: there won't be any classes on Wednesday this week. Adult classes start officially on September 17 at 10:20 and on Wednesday, September 20 at 11 am and 7 pm)
Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes,
and I will observe it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
Turn my heart to your decrees,
and not to selfish gain.
Turn my eyes from looking at vanities;
give me life in your ways.
Confirm to your servant your promise,
which is for those who fear you.
Turn away the disgrace that I dread,
for your ordinances are good.
See, I have longed for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life.
Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.Matthew 18:15-20
“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. 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. 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. 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. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”