September 02, 2020 Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church

Weekly Encouragement - 9/2

Weekly Encouragement - 9/2

Pastor Brennan and I are sending a weekly encouragement based upon Galatians 5:15 and guided by Alexander Strauch’s, If You Bite and Devour Each Other. The aim is to instruct what God’s Word teaches about conflict and how we should respond. When conflict flares, we must consider the instruction of God’s Word to walk as children in light. We pray that these might be profitable for correction and instruction in the Word of God.

“Pursue Reconciliation”

When we sin against each other, it creates division and disharmony among the body of Christ. The one sinned against could respond by slandering, gossiping, or holding grudges. The sinner could respond in similar fashion. Thus, sin not only creates disharmony, but our response to sin could also deepen it. 

Jesus teaches us another way. Pursuing reconciliation is the responsibility of all parties. “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” (Matt. 18:15). Jesus teaches that the one sinned against must go to the sinner. This goes against conventional thinking that the one sinned against has a right to anger because the sinner hasn’t apologized. No, Jesus says. The one sinned against has the duty to pursue reconciliation. 

The sword cuts both ways. In Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus teaches that if you know you have sinned against another person, you must pursue reconciliation.

What is the point? In conflict, everyone bears the responsibility to pursue reconciliation. The reason is that the sinful flesh does not discriminate between sides. Idolatry, enmity, envy, and things like these are against the Spirit. As Paul warns, “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:21).  

How do we pursue reconciliation? In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus instructs us to admonish one another privately first. If nothing works, then one or two witnesses should join you. If that doesn’t work, then the matter must be brought to the elders (Matt. 18:15-17). 

As we live together as the body of Christ, we must walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called. This includes an eagerness to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1,3). We maintain this unity of the Spirit by pursuing reconciliation with each other according to the Word of God. 

In Christ, Pastor Jud