If I Don't, Who Will?

I avoid conflict. All those neat, little quizzes back up my claim.

Unfortunately, God never meant me to leave unresolved issues hanging between me and another Christian. To help me overcome my reticence, the Lord provided a formula for reconciliation, three simple steps to follow.

1. Even when the other person is at fault, I am the one who needs to go personally to seek resolution (Matthew 18:15).

2. If my brother, or sister, is not willing to listen, then I need to try again but this time with the help of one or two others who will be witnesses to the problem and the impasse that exists between us (Matthew 18:16).

3. If this second step doesn't bring about resolution, then I need to ask the church to intercede on our behalf (Matthew 18:17). If this step fails, it is assumed that the person involved is not a believer at all and is to be treated as such.

Even heaven can't release me from the chains of unresolved conflict if I don't do my part: "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 18:18). I will never be free unless I make the effort, regardless of the response of the other party.

There is also a personal benefit that comes from involving those few special people in conflict resolution. When I fervently seek to do what is right in any issue between me and another brother or sister, I can be assured that God will set me free from the bonds created by the conflict and bring healing and restore the peace. Jesus said: "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where of three come together in my name, there am I with them" (Matthew 18:19, 20). This intimate circle wraps its arms around the situation in prayer, and guarantees a heavenly blessing on my life.

But the first step is mine to take.


  1. Thanks for this, Lynda.
    Facing conflict is always so hard. I think it's because we fear it might break our fellowship with that person...but many times it restores it, bringing us closer than ever.

    I used a simplified version of this to deal with tattle-telling with my children and students. I taught them to go to that person first and kindly remind them of what is right, before coming to me.


  2. I hate conflict too - this is wonderful advice, so hard to take, but we gotta. thanks for the reminder.


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