We’ve seen it happen before. Whether we are a witness, victim, or instigator of it, words are misinterpreted, assumptions are made, and before we know it, a problem arises that no one was asking for. These situations become confusing and complicated. We, as a Church, have to be careful about how we go about such issues, and most importantly, how we go about them in a godly manner.
We need to consider a couple important ideas when we come upon these situations:
First, we are humans, seemingly prone to mistake. There have been so many instances, especially over indirect means of contact (like texting or email), that words and meanings have been misinterpreted. We have to be careful with how we use our words, and the subtle snarkiness we may unknowingly express behind each word.
“(23) Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, (24) leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” -Matthew 5:23-24
The importance of us having a godly, unfaltered relationship with our fellow brother is so important. Jesus stressed in this example how we need to settle all problems with our fellow brother before offering worship to God. Before worshipping and praising God, have a good relationship with your brother.
Second, grudges. This is such a worldly way of “handling” a problem, that has made its way into the Church more than any other problem I’ve witnessed. It’s so easy to say “I forgive you, it’s forgotten,” and then go on not forgiving and not forgetting the wrongdoings of others. If you or someone else is still offended when a problem is seemingly resolved, you need to go to them and discuss why there is still tension and unforgiveness. Matthew 18:21-35 is a perfect yet sad example of how far unforgiveness will take you. I recommend you read that as soon as possible, and really evaluate the deep truth it holds.
Third, we need to keep an open mind. If someone comes to us, explaining how we have offended them, we need to give them the benefit of the doubt and sincerely apologize (if it isn’t sincere, you’ll get the same problems as point number two). It isn’t fun, but we need to evaluate ourselves and do a “check-up from the neck-up” (a famous phrase in our congregation). We need to admire the person’s courage to come to you, and especially his/her concern.
We need to be humbled by these occurrences, but also strengthened. We can use these opportunities to bring our hearts to God, resulting in a heart more full of His grace.
Thank you for your continued support in the Peter and Paul groups. Remember, the groups aren’t just for little written snippetts every week, but rather to keep evangelism as our main goal. Have a blessed week.