So we talked last Sunday (2/24/12) about the second part of a two-week mini-series on relationships — What to do when someone hurts you. (Listen again or download here.)As we looked at Matthew 18 we saw the incredibly detailed relationship insights Jesus had and the prescription that Jesus provided for us to follow. And we saw how wise, how revolutionary, how totally counter-cultural Jesus was then — and is today!
We’ve all been hurt at some time. And most of us can even put a person’s name on that painful memory. So what do mature, obedient followers of Jesus do when someone hurts them? Here’s a recap of the five principles we talked about from Jesus’ wisdom in Matthew 18…
Step 1. Initiate peace.
- Matthew 18:15 – If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault…
- Matthew 5:9 – Blessed are the peacemakers (those who work hard for peace), for they will be called children of God.
- Psalm 133:1 – How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!
Step 2. Talk to the person, not about the person.
- Matthew 18:15 – If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you…
1st The person who listens to gossip is equally wrong as the person who spreads the gossip.
2nd The person who gossips to you will also be the person who gossips about you.
- Luke 17:3 – If you brother sins against you, confront him…
- Matthew 18:15c – …if he listens to you, you have gained (won) your brother.
- 1 Peter 3:9 – Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
Step 3. When necessary, get help.
- Matthew 18:16 – But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’
> Two Key Concepts:
1. Keep the circle as small as possible.
2. The goal is always to gain back the relationship.
Step 4. Take it to the church.
- Matthew 18:17a – If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church…
- Matthew 18:17b – …and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
Q. Why do we pull back on friendship, on relationship, on fellowship?
A. Because we can’t love people AND affirm what God says is harmful. We can’t love people AND accept what God says is hurtful.
Step 5. Forgive, comfort and re-affirm your love.
- Luke 17:3 – …and if he repents, forgive him.
- Matthew 18:21, 22 – Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
> Key Concept: Because sin is common, forgiveness will always be necessary.
- Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving each other just as God in Christ has forgiven you.
- Colossians 3:13 – Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
- Romans 5:8 – God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
I have already heard stories this week about people who have put these principles to work in their relationships and seen God work through their obedience. Praise God! Keep it up, Saints!
Resting in Him,