What does a mother do when she sees two of her kids fighting? She may hold back for a while to allow them to learn to sort things out. Yet when things are getting heated up and a tad too personal any loving mother would without a doubt step in and intervene. Isn’t establishing the peace in her family something that she would yearn for? She would obviously long for togetherness in the family teaching them to agree to disagree, celebrating one another regardless of whether they see eye to eye.
How do we respond to such situations in the Family of God? Is it in the same way as a mother would step in her own family? If it’s different, why? Who is the family of God? What does the scriptures teach?
More often than not, pardon me if I’m wrong here but this has been my observation for the most part – when people see “Christians” having ‘conflicts’.- they put up their feet with a cuppa, “It’s none of my business”
Jesus makes it clear as to who ‘family’ is to Him!
For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother – Matthew 12:50
“My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice – Luke 8:21
It’s no point calling ourselves believers if we are not doing the will of God and not putting God’s Word into practice. Sincere love for God will drive us to love others, not shun others, as they too are God’s children.
Jesus tells us the steps to take when two people have a problem with one another.
15 “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.16 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. 17 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. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed[f] in heaven. 19 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. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” – Matthew 18:15-20
When it comes to stepping into other peoples’ conflicts we not only hesitate and turn away, we happily apply the verse “when two or three are gathered…” to claim or rather demand from God what we want. We apply this verse out of context!
Jesus tells the people who are having a conflict to have two or three witnesses. People generally say they don’t want to ‘interfere’ with other peoples problems but if this is your family – and it is if indeed you love God and belong to His family – then Jesus asks us to step in. He knows people will hesitate so He assures us, that He is with us when we step into be one of the 3 witnesses… He will go with us and give us His wisdom. And when we ask for this matter to be resolved, it will indeed be done by God! It is in this context that the verse 20 is presented! We are indeed asked to live at peace with one another as long as it depends on us. If you analyse situations where one shuns the other, you can see the one doing the shunning most likely doing it to cover up their pride or selfishness – they want their own way which is characteristic of one not walking with God.
Of course we do need to pull away if the other person is being ‘abusive’ as we can’t feed into that sin.
Put away violence and oppression, and execute justice and righteousness. Cease your evictions of my people, declares the Lord God – Ezekiel 45:9
Putting away violence and oppression is something a believer would automatically do. If not, the question is where does the ‘perpetrator’ stand with God? If the person indeed knew the Father heart of God would they violent or oppressive or abusive? Likewise we are also called to execute justice and righteousness.
What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8
If we were to walk humbly with our God we will automatically desire justice and love kindness as our ‘name’ and reputation won’t matter at all We will love one another as ourselves and reach out in love putting away schemes and our fleshly desires.
If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together – 1 Corinthians 12:26
If we were a part of the Body of Christ, when one member suffers it would automatically resonate with the rest of us = just the way our whole physical body gets affected when even a small finger gets injured. Thus we will indeed step in with God’s discernment and leading.
If we are indeed walking in intimacy with God, we will feel it when we hurt others or when others are suffering. On the other hand if we are hurting others and being defensive or worse shunning or ostracizing believers, then we need to examine our walk with God – are in indeed walking with God.
To reconcile man with man, and not with God is to reconcile no one at all – Thomas Merton
Fact is if we love God and we are reconciled with God our hearts will automatically beat to keep God’s family together in love, we will be humble to agree to disagree 🙂 and we won’t be striving for our fleshly desires but rather we will be desiring God’s perfect will!
Let’s examine our hearts before it’s too late!