Jul
6

Rules for Reconciliation

By admin  //  Devotionals  //  1 Comment

“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you” Matthew 18:15

In the last article we introduced our Lord’s simple instructions for the restoration of fellowship and saw that the prerequisite for carrying it out was to have an attitude that seeks to win back our estranged brother and not one that seeks to win.

Look again at what the Lord said in the first part of Matthew 18:15(NIV) quoted above. Note that he is asking you, the offended party to make the first move towards reconciliation, and not the offender. We normally feel that if we have been sinned against it must be the other person who must come to make peace. The Lord says, ‘No’. God’s kingdom is different from the world because God’s children are called to be peacemakers. Our commitment to peace makes us refuse to nurse our wounds, but rather to nurture fellowship.

Now let me bring a balance here by pointing out what the Lord says in another passage;

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift”  – Matthew 5:23-24

Here the offender is asked to make the first move to seek reconciliation with those who feel offended by him or her. So, whether we are offended against, or whether others feel offended by us, God’s children are called to be peacemakers by always taking the initiative to see fellowship restored whenever it is broken.

Matthew 5:9 says: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”. This is why something is seriously wrong when a person who calls himself a child of God is comfortable with conflict and trouble-making.

Then the Lord says that you must go and show him his fault ‘just between the two of you’. By keeping this first meeting for reconciliation just between the two of us, I am communicating to my brother that I am not seeking to expose his fault to others or to judge him, but rather seeking to get rid of something that is coming between the two of us. It shows that I value him and his fellowship. When this first step of working out the trouble ‘just between the two of you’ is neglected and others are brought in at the start, trust is lost and true reconciliation may become impossible. Many marriages have been seriously damaged because one of them has gone first to talk to a pastor or a parent about their differences, instead of seriously working at sorting things out first with their spouse.

Another reason why it is important that we begin with ‘just between the two of you’, is because it is possible that we may have misjudged the situation.  (Once again remember what I shared some weeks ago on Balaam and his ass!). There was once a brother whose reaction to what I had asked a group I was leading, to do, seemed to me like a deliberate attempt to insult me. But when I shared this with him, his explanation of what he had said and meant by it, made me realise that I had put the wrong interpretation on his action. How damaging things would have been in that instance, if I had not spoken to him first, but had discussed this with others instead.

In my experience, when this first step of reconciliation is properly applied with the right attitude, most relationship conflicts are sorted out.  As we approach our brother with a humble heart seeking forgiveness and being willing to give it, healing results. But there are complex situations when we will need to go beyond this ‘just between the two of you’ approach. That is what the Lord goes on to deal with in our text and we will look at this next week.

1 Comment to “Rules for Reconciliation”

  • Thanks brother for the messages

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