Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. – Matthew 18.15
This situation is all too familiar to those of us who’ve dealt with kids: while driving the school bus the other day, I was approached by a young fellow, who plaintively insisted, “Tell my sister to give me back…” I would tell you what it was that she was accused of purloining, but I was kind of busy loading kids on the bus, and so didn’t get to the end of his sad account. Instead, I replied, “Sort it out yourself – I’m not your dad. Unless you’re on fire, I don’t need to hear about it!” Guess what – it worked out fine.
Now this may strike you as somewhat harsh (unless you’ve driven 60 odd kids around, each of which must have your immediate, individual attention, and that right now!) It did, however, bring to mind for me Pastor Frey’s sermon last Lord’s Day. We, as believers, are often wont to either take our differences immediately to the pastor or deacons (or worse, a crowd of our friends) before dealing with the one who we feel might have offended us. Or perhaps as bad, we just resolve to avoid the incident and the person, much like one might quarantine an Ebola victim. Neither of these courses answers the command of the Lord Jesus.
Why does Jesus require us to deal with one another first? Well, unlike a harried bus driver, it’s not because he has better things to do than to address our squabbles, or because he’s just not interested. In fact, the Lord is so concerned about our holiness and transformation that he insists that we deal with our problems, instead of ignoring them or foisting them on someone else. This is the ‘one another’ Pastor Frey directed us to. We’re not saved to be alone with Jesus: none of us lives to himself, Ro 14.7; we are to receive (love) one another as Christ has, Ro 15.7. Doctrine is easy; self-piety is easy; loving others when it hurts, getting & staying involved as part of my sanctification, not just theirs, is difficult & painful. But our Saviour wasn’t fastened to the cross with velcro; as he suffered to set us free, so he calls on us to do the painful work of pursuing holiness – without which, no one shall see the Lord, Heb 14.12. So let us keep after one another – not in criticism or back-biting, but seeking to love that person, for his sake, for ours, and for Christ’s.
- This Friday, Connected in Christ meets at Linda’s again, 1 pm.
- There’s a women’s meeting at Newcastle church tonight to which our ladies are invited, beginning at 7 pm.
- And don’t forget our Games Night tomorrow at the church, beginning at 7 pm.
- Our Missions focus continues this Sunday, with Richard McGowan of Emmanuel International (Applefest) presenting that ministry in the morning.
- We will come to the Lord’s Table during worship Sunday morning – do make what preparations your soul requires!
- Please pray for Rachel’s grandmother Violet, a believer who is in hospital.
Blessings in Christ. Until Sunday, D.V.
Sunday Scriptures: Psalm 32; Luke 15.11-32; Ephesians 5.18-33; Philippians 1.27-2.4