Posts Tagged ‘go to your brother’

Preaching message – REALationships # 4 – 30June13AMREALationship

Conflict in life is inevitable. Have you seen how many TV shows are about conflict?  One in particular that’s really popular at present is called Revenge! People are fascinated by conflict as long as it doesn’t include them. Remember the school fights, how fast people come running to see who’s fighting who? In many of our famous sporting events there is actually a debate about whether we should allow the biff. For example State of Origin Rugby League.

Jesus said Mat 18:7  Woe to the world because of offenses! For it is necessary that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! He was referring to the conflict that inevitably arises to challenge every child of God because of the unrighteousness of man.

In families, the workplace, your neighbourhood, and in church there will be conflict.


Because we as human beings, Have opinions, Like to see things our way, Don’t like to be told when we are wrong, Don’t like to say sorry, Think everyone should just listen to us, Feel we are more important than others; in short we are selfish and fallen creatures. The goal in life for any believer is to grow to become more like Christ and that means maturity and a way to handle conflict. Jesus was the master at handling conflict we can learn from Him. Yet he was never weak or afraid.

You can argue that a piece of paper is black and someone else says it’s white. You can argue all day but maybe you’re just seeing different side of the same paper.

In Matthew 18 there are clear instructions about how to handle conflict, but here’s how some people handle it…

  1. Get angry and upset. – escalates the problem
  2. Blame the other person, the church and maybe even God for not caring.
  3. Tell everyone about what happened – gossip. – escalates the problem
  4. Leave the church because “No one should ever be treated like that”

When people do this, they are like a person who, when sitting for an exam at Uni, sits down and doesn’t like the look of the questions, so they storm out of the exam room. This kind of reaction has a big impact on your future. Life is a test. Church life is a series of growth challenges because God is growing an army not a complaints bureau.

Let’s look at how Matthew 18 says to handle it. Matt 18:15-17

Firstly it’s about relationships – it’s not about who’s right!

Secondly –   when the basis is humility then Conflict Resolution is easy.

  1. Go to the one who offended you, not to everyone else. – If someone ever comes to you to complain about anyone else; please say, “You realise you’re talking about my brother/sister? Let’s go talk it over with them.”
  2. If he/she doesn’t listen – take someone with you who understands your position. This person needs to have wisdom and maturity.
  3. If he/she still doesn’t listen – go to the church.  (As I have done leadership over the last 30 years I have found that the church is best represented by the senior leadership of the church.) (1 Cor 6:5)

For many step 1 is too hard for these reasons:

  1. They feel intimidated
  2. They don’t know what to say

In this case you need an advocate. That is someone who will come with you and articulate your case. (Paul in 1 Cor 6:5 warns this should not be a non-Christian)

So here’s your game plan. This is our churches conflict resolution policy.

  1. You experience Conflict – Rejoice – it’s exam time!! You get to move up if you handle this well
  2. You can choose to forgive, forget and move on. Never bringing it up again to ANYONE.
  3. You can’t forget it, so go to the person who offended you and talk it over. If that’s too intimidating take a wise and Godly leader with you. All the Pastoral Staff are ready willing and able to assist you in this matter. If you’re complaint is against me – go to Ps John first and if you are unsatisfied you can go to my leader Ps Ross Abraham.  It’s OK to be wrong; it’s not OK to be belligerent.
  4. Determine in your heart that it’s about relationship, not proving who’s right. You’re happy to be wrong, you’re happy to compromise, you’re happy to be right and not have that recognised. You just want to heal a relationship.
  5. Be ready to forgive genuinely from the heart.
  6. If He/she won’t listen then take another one or two to stand with you.
  7. If he/she still won’t listen, then go before the church leadership team and state your case. If he/she still won’t respond, then Matthew 18 advises to treat them as a non-Christian. In other words we endeavour to win them to Christ.


  1. Why are we fascinated by watching others in conflict? Discuss.
  2. What does Jesus expect of us when we are in conflict with a brother or sister?
  3. Why is it hard to make the goal, restoring the relationship, rather than just proving who is right or wrong?
  4. Is it ever OK to raise your voice when trying to resolve conflict?
  5. What damage does gossip do to a church?

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