If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. Matthew 18:15
Foreseeing the inevitability of his followers offending each other, Jesus gives them a process by which reconciliation can take place. It might appear this process begins with a 1-on-1 conversation between the wronged person and the one who offended. But this is the second step. The first step is to forgive. The heart work of forgiveness is the first step before any attempt at reconciliation. Reconciliation cannot happen unless forgiveness comes first.
The purpose of going to someone for this conversation is to say, “Something is broken, and we need to talk.” This radically different approach means we don’t ignore them, don’t “ghost” them or move to another church. We talk TO them, not ABOUT them. Sometimes this requires more than one conversation, including multiple conversations over an extended period of time. Only when this is no longer moving towards reconciliation are we to bring someone else into the conversation (Matthew 18:16).
Jesus’s instructions help us see that efforts toward reconciliation won’t always work or might work only to a certain level. There also might be people we forgive and achieve some level of reconciliation but don’t let back into our lives. Living at peace with someone still requires healthy boundaries.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Forgiveness and reconciliation begin by taking the first step. Is there someone you need to reconcile with? Pray today for the wisdom and courage to take the first step toward someone who has offended or hurt you.
2023 SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
Join us all of 2023 developing a different spiritual practice each month. SPIRITUAL PRACTICES are intentional regular activities to deepen our relationship with God and mold us to be more like Jesus.
April is CONFESSION. Keep track of our spiritual practices at beyondtheweekend.org/spiritualpractices.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.