Caring Enough To Confront  2

STEP 3: PUBLIC AIRING OF THE PROBLEM BEFORE THE WHOLE CHURCH

Where the previous two steps have failed to resolve the matter, Jesus says, the whole fellowship needs to be involved. Sadly, there are some situations where the behaviour is so ungodly and the effects so damaging for the whole fellowship and its witness in the community that public confrontation is unavoidable. In these situations, Jesus says, there are only two options left.

Either   the person finally accepts his/her behaviour is sinful, confesses and repents of it before his/her brothers and sisters in Christ and is willing to undergo whatever disciplinary measures the leadership deem necessary;

Or         the person continues to refuse all attempts to heed a call to repent and chooses rather to be treated as being no longer a member of the fellowship. In this case, s/he has signed him/herself out of the fellowship unless or until s/he has a change of heart and repents.

Notes:

1.  Jesus advocates a methodical, step by step approach to solving disagreements. You start low key and only escalate things if there is a stubborn refusal to seek a peaceful solution.

2.  He emphasises the importance of personal relationships in the process. Family squabbles are best resolved in the family, if possible, without involving outsiders. If a person will not listen to the godly advice of his/her Christian brothers and sisters however, s/he is really refusing to listen to the Lord and therefore needs to undergo church discipline.

3. Jesus highlights the importance of forgiveness & the dangers of unforgiveness.

The parable of the unmerciful steward is Jesus' response to Peter asking: "How many times must I forgive my brother or sister?"

How Often Do I Need To Forgive Someone Who Has Hurt Me?

Peter thought he was being pretty forgiving by mentioning a figure of seven times. But Jesus points out that we need to recognise we are just as much in need of forgiveness as those who cause us trouble.

In short, we need to let go of any feelings of anger and unforgiveness to others who hurt us. This is not the same thing as letting people get away with abuse or the maltreatment of others.

READ MORE  to return to BUILDING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS

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