August 25, 2018
READ: Matthew 18:15-22
If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offence. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back (v.15).
After a driver lost control of his vehicle and struck some trees, injuring a passenger with him, he blamed the accident on a spider. He told police that an arachnid on the car’s visor—above his head—distracted him. Fortunately, even though he crashed due to the conflict with this tiny foe, the passenger’s injuries were minor. The damage to the vehicle, however, was not. Things could have been much different if the driver had simply hit the brakes, pulled over to the side of the road and calmly dealt with his eight-legged enemy.
Although conflicts with people are rather different than being startled by a spider, ‘hitting the brakes’ in a conflict situation, instead of instantly reacting, is crucial. Jesus once told His disciples, “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offence. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back” (Matthew 18:15). He called them to resist striving for vengeance or returning the other person’s sin with one of their own. By humbly going to the offender and expressing the pain caused, there was a chance for the conflict to end and forgiveness to be extended (vv.21-22,35).
Remaining calm in the midst of conflict isn’t easy. I’ve been there. But we can seek God’s assistance through the power of the Spirit—praying for wisdom before, during and after we seek reconciliation. And, if possible, we can get others to pray for us and for the one we’re appealing to (vv.19-20).
Let’s hit the brakes when conflict comes calling. As James wrote, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry” (1:19). In God’s power, may we calmly address conflict through prayer and honest communication rooted in love.
365-day plan: Matthew 20:1-19
Read Proverbs 15:1 and think about why words matter in addressing conflicts with others.
How do you typically deal with conflict? How can you bring God honour by humbly working through the conflicts you have with others?