We live in a row home on a street that’s right behind a series of shops. Quickly I learned that if we didn’t pull our trash can back into our back yard, after the garbage truck had gone by, that someone else would put their trash into our can. Aaahh the joys of living in the city. It’s not just me. It happens to multiple people on our street.
Have you ever had someone say something about you or do something to you that hurt? It’s easy to carry this hurt around. Eventually you come to realize that you’re carrying around someone else’s garbage.
God didn’t design us to carry around trash. He didn’t design us to carry around sin.
In Matthew 18:15-35 We see how we can avoid walking around heavy – carrying something that you’re not designed to carry.
Kids walk light, bouncing, skipping. Adults walk heavy. Is this because we’re carrying hurt?
Most of the stuff we carry is something that someone else did or said to us. Unresolved conflict the longer you carry it – the heavier it gets.
Jesus teaches about Conflict Resolution because bitterness can ruin your life & shorten your life.
“If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him – work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.” Matthew 18:15-17 Message
“When another believer sins against you,” 18:15 …also works in friendships, marriage, & at work.
What are Jesus’ steps to conflict resolution? What should we do when we’re hurt by someone else?
1. Go privately and talk about it. With the person involved & not people not involved. No Gossip.
2. If they won’t hear, take one or two with you & talk about it. The purpose is restoration.
3. If they won’t hear, take it to the church & talk about it. Spiritual leadership working for restoration.
4. If they won’t hear, treat them as an unbeliever. Forgive. Don’t expect different. Don’t put yourself in harms way. Pray for them.
“Ok Jesus, so if your conflict resolution works, then how many times do I have to forgive someone?” Peter asks in 18:21. “70 times 7,” Jesus says.
In Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus tells the story of the king who forgave a servant, who would not forgive a coworker’s debt.
In Luke 11:4 Jesus talks about forgiveness. There is a connection between God forgiving us and our forgiving others.
During college, I had a job that included cooking…this meant prepping meat every morning. One day I was rushing around and cutting meat while I had food on the grill and in a skillet. When I cut my finger my focus was on the other food…so I stuck my finger under the water, while cleaning & cooking. After working for a while I realized that I was feeling funny because I had lost a good amount of blood. What’s the point? When you hold on to an offense you are trying to work with one hand. You are holding on to what was done to you and trying to live your life without letting go. You have to let go.
What do we learn?
1. God forgives us.
2. His forgiveness changes us.
3. He expects us to share His forgiveness with others.
“Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35