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It is often hard to address issues we have with other people, even when those other people are our Christian brothers and sisters. However, the Bible is very clear in Matthew 18:15-20 that we must go to our brothers and sisters and address the issues.
Here is the verse laid out for you:
“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. 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. 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. 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. 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. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” ~Matthew 18:15-20
These verses are intended to prohibit gossip and misunderstandings between the church body from happening. They are intended to bring unity among the body of Christ, instead of leaving holes and empty relationships.
Isn’t it easier for us to simply ignore a situation and stop talking to another person rather than going to them and addressing a tough issue? However, by addressing the issue, it allows us to build a stronger relationship with the other individual. It builds trust and promotes communication skills. It allows us to understand another person and their point of view and past experiences and soften our own hearts toward them. It furthers discipleship and provides an example of how we should live our lives according to the Bible.
Providing 2 or 3 witnesses as described in verse 16, relates to the verse in Deuteronomy 19:15, where the 2 or 3 provide a witness to the offense as to not wrongly accuse someone. Verse 16 sets up verse 17, where it states that if a person chooses to not repent, then, he or she should be treated as someone who rebels against God and should be thought of as an unbeliever and excluded from the church’s fellowship. Wow! These are seriously powerful words!
Jesus is all about unifying his body of believers, so He wants to make this clear, even in these situations, and He reminds us He will always be present in these situations.
Chances are you have issues that need to be addressed with others, and what an impact it can make on your life, your relationships with others and, most importantly, your relationship with God if you choose to talk about it with the other person. So who do you need to go to address these issues with?
Let me close with a prayer:
God, thank you for the many relationships you have placed in my life. Forgive me for allowing misunderstandings and gossip to get in the way of my relationships with others and my relationship with You. Help me to be bold in addressing these situations in my life. Help me to have the courage to go to those I know I need to address tough issues with. I long to unify relationships in order to glorify You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.