Watchman: Daily Devotional, This Is the Only Passage in the New Testament That Tells How to Practically Go About Resolving a Conflict Between Brothers in Christ. If We Would Follow It Carefully, We Would Resolve Many Conflicts Before They Got to the Point of Being Irreparable
Matthew 18:15-17 (NIV) 15" 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. 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.' 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
This is the only text in the New Bible that describes how to resolve a quarrel between brothers in Christ. If we followed it diligently, we would be able to repair many disagreements before they became irreparable. Step one: The person who has been insulted goes one on one with the person who has offended him. 90% of problems will be solved there. Typically, it is the result of a misunderstanding or an inadvertent action. Do it as soon as possible before bitterness takes root. When you become enraged, no reaction will suffice to repair the connection.
Step two: If no settlement is reached and the offending sibling refuses to listen, bring two or three witnesses. Ideally, no more than five people should be aware of the problem. When we start informing others and establishing organizations to reinforce one another's interpretation of what happened, we get into danger. Everyone wants sympathy and support, but the godly method is to keep those who know to a minimum in order to fix the issue.
Lastly, if the brother continues to refuse to listen, take it to church. Some take this to mean the elders of the church you attend. Others believe that putting it before the full church body for resolution is the way to go. Treat the brother as a heathen or tax collector if he refuses to listen to the church (this presupposes the church is of one mind). This is one of Jesus' few church-related teachings. Jesus is referring to congregations of believers who congregate to worship. It didn't exist at the time, thus Jesus is looking ahead and addressing a future need for His disciples in a corporate setting.
Then there's the issue of how to handle a heathen or a tax collector. Is Jesus referring to how the Jews treated them or how He and His disciples treated them? One of them was a revenue officer. Regard them as persons in need of salvation, loving them but not include them in the local church's body. That would still give them hope that things may be restored if they repented.
Remember to commit to following Jesus' approach for dispute resolution.
The Great Tribulation
It is our belief that the Great Tribulation referred to in the New Testament Book of Revelation (chapters 6-11) is unfolding before our eyes. In the near future, we will devote the "Tribulation" tab on our "Trending" menu to this emerging reality. As people continue to unplug from mainstream media, our commitment is to present the truth and encourage our audience to understand current events from a Biblical perspective. Click here to begin the journey.
In the Bible, the Watchman is responsible for keeping watch and warning others of potential danger or impending judgment. The role is mentioned several times in the Old Testament, particularly in the book of Ezekiel. In Ezekiel 33:6, God says to the prophet Ezekiel, "But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand." Click here to begin the journey.
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