This life is messy and broken. And doing life with other messy and broken sinners is, not surprisingly, even more painfully messy and broken. But that is no excuse to hide from the challenges. That is no excuse to run away from relationships that have become difficult. The Christian Life is not Facebook. We don’t simply “unfriend” a fellow believer when we have been wronged. Even when you want to slam the door and not look back, Jesus says, “I forgave you.”
Any time an offense results in a broken relationship within the congregation, as difficult as it is to do, confrontation must occur. Not mean spirited or vengeful confrontation. But a genuine seeking of justice and a loving restoration of what was broken. Both the sin and the broken relationship must be confronted, and reconciliation must be sought.
I mean, that is what Jesus did. Isn’t it?
He could have turned around and slammed the door. How often do we add to our debt against him? He, of all people, has the right to sit behind a keyboard and hit “unfriend”, and ignore us.
But he doesn’t.
Relentlessly pursuing us.
…and He demands that we do the same for those whom we worship with. According to Luke 17:3 and Matthew 5:23-24, both the sinner and the one sinned against have a divine responsibility to seek reconciliation. And if Jesus doesn’t turn His striped back on us, then there is never a good excuse for believers who worship in the same congregation to refuse to pursue reconciliation of a broken relationship. Unless of course, all the steps in Mathew18:15-20 have been exhausted, which would result in the excommunication of the sinner from the Church. But excommunication should never be our goal.
So when a brother sins against you…
Grab a shovel and dig in.
Seek the good of your brother.
Remember that even though we are broken and messy and sinful people, worshipping with other broken and messy and sinful people, we have a saviour who isn’t. We have a saviour who forgave us so we could be more like him. So use his shovel. And His strength. Pray often. And don’t let the broken messiness get you down, look at Jesus. He is all we need.