How often do we let unresolved conflict with another person keep us from doing things, going places, or being ourselves? Instead of dealing with things quickly, we let them simmer. Or talk to everyone else except the individual involves?
In Matthew 18, Jesus enumerates 4 steps to dealing with strained relationships.
1) If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.….. MATT 18:15
2) … if he will not listen, take one or two others along… MATT 18:16
3) … if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church … MATT 18:17a
4) … if he refuses to listen to them, treat him as you would (an unbeliever).… MATT 18:17b
But have you noticed how people can walk through these steps while, at the same time, violate the spirit behind the process? Many people see the above steps as permission to blast someone or be self-vindicating. For me, it is important to realize that there are several timeless principles behind the process.
· Approach with humility
The family language of brothers and sisters assumes a note of personal care. Remember to approach each other as peers who are journeying side by side.
· Keep it limited
Limit the exposure. Reduce the fallout. Avoid unnecessary rumors, the misunderstandings, and slander from multiplying. When we gossip to others instead of deal with the individual, it is always destructive.
· Aim reconciliation
Remember that the win in all this is a restored relationship. Our attitudes should not be that of a policeman out to arrest a criminal, but rather a physician seeking to heal a wound.