The request came after the parties heard a message that got both of them contemplating being obedient to God’s Word. I delivered a similar message titled “Doing What Nobody Likes.” It was about how to address interpersonal conflict from 2 Corinthians.
Before they met my friend sent both of them some things to think about and meditate on (I got his permission to put it online). Eventually they sat down together and he opened with prayer. Each took some time to lay out what they were at odds over. Then discussion began. For a good while barbs were traded back and forth… accusations and defenses were hurled… tension would rise and abate… anger was expressed openly.
One time my friend said he thought… “What have I gotten myself into?! This isn’t a disagreement, it’s a feud! THIS is what Jesus wanted to happen in Matthew 18:15-16?!”
Eventually the discussion was stopped because both were far from a resolution. Here’s some of what I can remember my friend said to them…
Guys… this isn’t at all what is supposed to be happening here. I had hoped that we’d be working toward a resolution. I had hoped we’d come together for the purpose of working things out… but it’s not happening. It seems to me that both of you are more concerned about being proved right than working things out. In my view, both of you need to take some time to reflect about where your heart is.
Did you all do what I asked? Did you read the passages? Did you try to apply them to yourselves first?
Honestly I’m heartbroken for the two of you and the situation you are in! Tell you what… let me read the passages again for you. Let’s listen closely to what our Lord has given us in His Word…
As the passages were read (See below), their hearts began to melt. The Holy Spirit did something no one else could do… He replaced a heart of stone with one softened by His power. The two saw how they were both in need of repentance and forgiveness. To make a long story short, they ended up talking in private… forgiving each other… and left the meeting as brothers in one accord!
God’s Word isn’t true because it works. It works because it is TRUE!
Romans 12:9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless & do not curse them. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry & do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 & give no opportunity to the devil. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness & wrath & anger & clamor & slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
Psalm 26:2 Prove me, O Lord, & try me; test my heart & my mind.
Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken & contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, & know my heart! Try me & know my thoughts! 24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, & lead me in the way everlasting!
1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.
1 Corinthians 11:27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body & blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, & so eat of the bread & drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats & drinks without discerning the body eats & drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak & ill, & some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves TRULY, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.