Posted by on Sep 7, 2020 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on Resolution and Reconciliation

Dear Lord….We are living in a world that is full of frustration that often shows itself in anger and hostility. Please come to us with your loving, reconciling presence that we may be part of the calming of the people we live with and work with. Show us the ways we can help ourselves make our way through this time as well as be helpful to others in your world to bring them to your peace.

Our gospel lesson for this week is from Matthew 18:15-20. We will also be considering the words of Paul to the Romans in his epistle…namely Romans 13:8-14. It has been very interesting that the epistle readings and the gospel readings for the past two weeks have been considering the same issues for us to think seriously about.

In Matthew, Jesus is teaching the disciples within the community that is the church of their time. He is teaching them some of the more challenging things they may encounter as they speak to the people they are ministering to.

In this lesson, the goal Jesus is teaching them is to retain all members, even those who are offending members of the church. Jesus does not want the disciples or the members of the churches to dismiss that offending member. Jesus does not want a single one of the sheep to be lost and is really showing how to bring that lost member back. He is teaching them the method of conflict resolution he wants them to follow.

The first thing he talks to the disciples about is to meet privately with the person and ask questions, listen to the person and, if necessary, admonish the person regarding how the people in the church have been offended. The disciples are not to use gossip or slander. They want to have the truth as the goal is to win the brother back.

However, if this conversation doesn’t work, Jesus tells the disciples that they, along with two or three witnesses are to talk with the offending person. This would give some seriousness and weight to the issues they are discussing. This method would also make sure that restoration was done correctly…and agreed to by the group.

After this discussion as a small group, the disciples were to include the whole church in the conversation and restoration. The restoration of the lost sheep to the church is the responsibility of all. If however, the lost sheep doesn’t agree to follow any suggestions of the church, the person is to be allowed to leave as the decision to NOT follow was the choice of the lost sheep by showing that he is unrepentant for his actions.

Jesus is telling the disciples, and us, that restoration is the responsibility of all people…in a town, in a church, in a country. He is also assuring us that he is always with His people in the restoration. He will not leave us…and reminds us all that restoration depends on discipline and evangelism.

To summarize the points Jesus is making, the procedure he is teaching for conflict resolution is first friendly confrontation, second negotiation and third adjudication. He also assures the disciples and us that God will concur/agree with whatever decision is made by the group as well as by the lost sheep…who may decide to not follow the agreements made by the church.

We all understand what Jesus is asking us as members of our churches want us to do, with His support, knowing we will not be abandoned by God. There is more, though. How can we help people in our current time frame maneuver through the challenges we all face?

We are ALL tired of the conditions we are now living in. We all get frustrated by the news. We get frustrated that we cannot attend the meetings in person we have had on our schedules. We are frustrated by not knowing when this will all end. At times, we are all depressed. How can we resolve our own selves to the existing conditions as well as help others and work toward reconciliation?

We all are frustrated and sometimes angry. Are we basically self-focused? Do the existing inconveniences make us angry because the affect us personally? How about the problems and injustices of the larger community?

What has helped you work through our current situation? How do you feel when you have helped someone who is looking for or needing a kind word or something else? Does that action help you out of your own issues? In listening to a psychologist on TV this week, the acts of helping others often help bring people out of their own depressed feelings. This is exactly what Jesus would want us to do, too.

Jesus is asking us to remember that we already belong to the light He brings us. How can we show our identification as a follower in both our personal and spiritual existence? Paul is telling us that primary to our existence is how we as Christians should act in the world. We, as believers, have an obligation to love all…and demonstrate it to everyone we meet.

How can we help others face the calming of frustrations? We come together in prayer in so many ways to ask God how we can help others. We may not all be able to be together in the church building, but we pray for our fellow members and find many ways to find the calm offered by God.

We are asked to take Christ everywhere we go, as we would take our clothes with us. Jesus can help us turn our anger and frustration into a tool for reconciliation and restoration for ourselves and the people we meet every day.




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