Continuing with yesterday’s saga (read the previous post if you have not done so already), rarely can anything be resolved by text or email, so I suggested a face to face meeting in which the individual’s spouse would be there as a witness since the spouse seemed to have a rather calm and reasonable personality. This was step #2 of the process and it was scary. You have to love Proverbs 15:1-4: A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. Knowledge flows like spring water from the wise; fools are leaky faucets, dripping nonsense. God doesn’t miss a thing— he’s alert to good and evil alike. Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim. With much prayer I resolved to go into the meeting, to speak gently, and if it got too hot, to leave.
I sincerely wish I could say that resolution was reached, everyone played nicely, and the sun came out. None of that happened, except the Son of God did show Himself. Through God’s grace, I spoke gently, spoke the truth, didn’t drip nonsense, and I didn’t result to imparting snarky remarks (even though a few of them appeared in my mind). I could have easily done all the opposite. Snarky sometimes can be my middle name.
So why am I bothering to write all of this? I honestly believe that if steps one and two of Matthew 18 were followed by believers that about ½ of disagreements between believers could be nipped in the bud. There would be a lot less church splits, things would not be allowed to simmer for years, and probably a lot of believers would not be sinning to death while partaking of communion. Just because it didn’t work out the way I wanted in this situation, doesn’t mean that God was not glorified. It also doesn’t mean that God is done working on this relationship (or on me).
So my parting words to you are, pursue the hard course of relationships, be brave and courageous, don’t lose your cool, and be obedient to God’s Word. Who knows what ripples of good your example can set by your risking “poking the bear”? Maybe there would end up a lot less bears to poke….