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Hello… In this blog post, I invite you to embark on a journey of reflection and renewal, exploring a theme deeply intertwined with the very essence of Christianity – reconciliation. It resonates throughout the teachings of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and holds the key to fostering harmony and healing within our Christian communities. Our guiding scripture comes from the Gospel of Matthew, specifically chapter 18, verses 15-20. In these verses, Jesus imparts to us the art of resolving conflicts within the community of believers.

As we get into this scripture, we will uncover not only the practical steps for resolving conflicts but also the spiritual truths it holds. In a world often marked by division and discord, the message contained within these verses serve hope for a better, healthier, and happier fellowshipping in the community of believers. Join me as we journey together through Matthew 18:15-20, unraveling its wisdom and discovering how it can impact our lives as disciples of Christ. Let us heed His call to become peacemakers within our community, to mend the bonds of fellowship, and to embody the love that Christ poured out for us.

I hope these revelations will help us in our faith journey as part of the community of believers.

I. The Call to Reconciliation (v15)

Jesus’ teaching on addressing conflicts within the community begins with a powerful insight: the scenario where a brother or sister sins against you. Consider a situation in our church community where two close friends, Sarah and John, have a falling out over a financial dispute. Sarah, hurt and upset, follows Jesus’ guidance by approaching John privately to discuss the issue. This act of addressing the problem directly, just between the two of them, demonstrates Jesus’ concern for individual holiness and the unity of the community. Through their private conversation, they reconcile and prevent a potential division within the congregation. This practical example illustrates the timeless wisdom of Jesus’ teachings, emphasizing the importance of handling conflicts privately and preserving unity within our Christian community.

II. The Process of Reconciliation (v16-v17)

In the journey of reconciliation, if the initial attempt, like Sarah and John’s private conversation, fails to bring resolution, Jesus advises involving a few witnesses. These witnesses serve as impartial referees, ensuring fairness and encouraging the erring party, in this case, John, to reconsider. If this step proves unfruitful, then, as with Sarah and John, the matter should be elevated to the entire church. Throughout this process, it’s crucial to remember that the ultimate goal is always restoration, not condemnation, as illustrated in the example of Sarah and John’s efforts to heal their rift within the church community.

III. The Power of Agreement

In verse 18, Jesus delivers an awe-inspiring message about the power of agreement and its connection to reconciliation. He imparts that the authority to bind and loose on earth and in heaven is granted to a community that actively practices reconciliation. This statement emphasizes that when we earnestly pursue unity and reconciliation within our church, we align ourselves with God’s divine will. To illustrate, consider a congregation where members consistently seek reconciliation. Their commitment to resolving conflicts and fostering harmony isn’t just a human endeavor but a divine partnership. This aligns their actions with God’s intention for His people to live in peace and unity, thereby harnessing the remarkable power that Jesus promises to those who practice reconciliation – the power to bind and lose in both earthly and heavenly realms.

IV. The Promise of Christ’s Presence (v20)

Jesus’ assurance that where two or three gather in His name, He is present among them, holds significance, especially in the context of reconciliation. This promise underscores that as we come together intending to resolve conflicts and seek unity, we are not alone in our efforts. His divine guidance and grace accompany our every step. It’s a reminder that reconciliation is not merely a human endeavor; it’s a sacred work that carries the presence of Christ. Just as in a church community where two or three individuals unite to mend a broken relationship or heal a division, Christ’s presence manifests as the unifying force, guiding hearts toward forgiveness, understanding, and ultimately, restoration. This divine assurance fortifies our resolve to engage in the sacred task of reconciliation, knowing that we are supported by the very presence of our Lord.

Call to Action

Dear beloved brothers and sisters, the words of Jesus in Matthew 18:15-20 serve as an everlasting reminder of the paramount importance of reconciliation within our Christian community. We live in a world where conflicts are inevitable, where misunderstandings and hurt feelings can sow discord among us. However, it is not the presence of conflict that defines us but how we, as followers of Christ, choose to handle it. Our response to conflict reflects our commitment to the very teachings that guide our faith.

Let us purposefully and passionately embrace our role as peacemakers within our community. May we be known, not for avoiding disputes, but for our unwavering dedication to seeking reconciliation. As Christ’s disciples, we are called to be agents of love, understanding, and unity, just as He loved us with unconditional and sacrificial love. In our interactions with one another, let us emulate His compassion and forgiveness, always striving to mend broken relationships and heal wounds, no matter how deep they may be.

Remember, dear friends, that when two or three gather in His name, there is the powerful and comforting presence of our Lord. This divine assurance emboldens us and fills us with hope as we embark on this journey of reconciliation. It signifies that, when we come together in Christ’s love, we are not alone. His guidance, grace, and peace are with us, enabling us to overcome even the most daunting conflicts.

So, I implore you, to let us be a living testimony to the transformative power of reconciliation. Let our Christian community shine as a beacon of hope and unity, radiating Christ’s love to a world that desperately needs it. As we venture forth in the spirit of reconciliation, remember that in our unity, we not only honor Christ but also bring His healing touch to the broken and wounded hearts around us. Let us, therefore, commit ourselves to this sacred work, knowing that through it, we are not only building bridges between one another but also drawing closer to our Savior’s heart. Amen.

By Roge Sison

An ordained clergy of The United Methodist Church.

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