I spend a TON of time online; on facebook and twitter, on YouTube and blogs. The internet has become the place where people greatly express their opinions, ideas and beliefs. And this has become a great tool for me and countless others to use in witnessing.
I will say this however – that there is a TON of conflict online. You see people always arguing with others and people always want to be “right”. This stems from pride – which ironically I just wrote a blog about. Pride is a sin. Pride is not based on loving one another. Pride is based on loving one’s SELF more than anything. So what do we do when pride rears it’s ugly head to us – online or in person?
Matthew 18 has a great set of examples given by Jesus Himself on how to deal with conflict. Let’s walk through Jesus’ explanation on “how to deal with a sinning brother”:
1. TALK TO HIM/HER PRIVATELY
15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
This gives a chance to open doors of communication PRIVATELY when you feel someone has wronged you. When we confront someone in front of others, it automatically puts them on the defense out of embarrassment or fearing a loss of integrity, thus not allowing them to hear what you are saying to them. We choose moment after moment how to handle every situation we face, and there are ways of speaking to others that are effective, and some that are not. Go to your friend or acquaintance in private first – make it more personal and non-threatening.
2. IF SPEAKING PRIVATELY DOES NOT MAKE THEM HEAR, USE A WITNESS OR TWO
16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’
There is more power in numbers. If the person who has a conflict with you or vice versa won’t hear you privately, call for reinforcements. If you are like me, you have surrounded yourselves with strong Christians who are knowledgeable in the TRUTH, and can come to your aid when needed. I also am on call always for mine because I know how difficult it can be to share truth with someone who refuses to hear it. Jesus Himself had His disciples, and in tons of instances throughout the Word, there are 2 angels, 2 witnesses, etc. This can also help keep emotions under wraps when feelings of hurt or anger are involved.
3. IF SPEAKING WITH WITNESSES DOES NOT WORK, GO TO THE CHURCH.
17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church.
This may or may not be helpful today, depending on the churches available to you. This also may be as simple as just calling on MORE Christian witnesses (since we ARE the church). Again, power in numbers. When 2 or 3 won’t help, try MORE.
4. IF THOSE DO NOT WORK – SIMPLY WALK AWAY.
v. 17:But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
Too often today, people are walking away from others out of anger and hurt pride because someone disagrees with them WITHOUT EVEN TALKING WITH THEM FIRST. It’s like “Oh, you made me mad and you hurt my feelings, now I’m DONE WITH YOU!” and they shut the door on that relationship permanently, without even letting the other person know WHY or how they are feeling. If you are a self- professing Christian, I certainly hope this does not include you because it is NOT what we are instructed to do.
The suggestions given by Jesus are for a good life – for good relationships; and they take PRACTICE. I think part of the world’s problem today is not only HOW we are communicating with each other, but also letting our emotions get the better of us. We have become more RE active than PRO active.
Let’s face it, pride tells us we just simply can’t be wrong, and if we can’t be wrong in our stance, then the other person is wrong. Two prideful people telling the other they are wrong never mends a bridge – only BURNS IT. TWO WRONGS DON’T MAKE A RIGHT.
Humble yourselves before each other, try to be more understanding and loving instead of prideful. Jesus further tells us that what we loose here on earth is also loosed in heaven:
18 “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
If we are loosing our tongues and actions in anger at each other day after day, what are we loosing in heaven? I’m imagining angels warring with each other, just as we are here.
DOESN’T THAT MAKE YOU WONDER IF OUR ANGER AND ARGUMENT WITH EACH OTHER IS THE CAUSE FOR OUR OWN DEMISE AND DESTRUCTION HERE ON EARTH? Is it our sin that is causing all the natural and political disasters we are witnessing today? Is the earth crumbling under the weight of our sin?
Furthermore, Jesus tells us that two or more are gathered together in His name, He is there also. He is all powerful, but others still make their personal choices. And if they deny Him or His truth, then we must let them over to their sins. Our faith is SUCH a fair one in ways MANY will never understand. We need to act as such; FAIRLY WITH EACH OTHER.
Be confident in yourself and Jesus and LOVE one another out there. But don’t be SO confident you can’t see outside of yourself. Don’t be angry, prideful, hateful, or bitter. If you are feeling emotional, let things rest a while. Remember, on earth as it is in heaven. LOVE ONE ANOTHER – this is the second commandment of the new covenant, and just as important as the first.
Peace to you all today and every day. 😀