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Pastor's Column

The Man and the Thing

  Once upon a time a man was upset about a thing. The thing in question wasn’t a large and important thing to most people, but it was enough to make him lose sleep. Not quite sure what to do, the man began sharing his displeasure. He opined to his spouse, he ranted to his neighbor, and even opened up to the clerk at the local shop. He reasoned that emptying himself of his frustrations would bring bliss, but alas, peace did not come.

  He decided he would take his case before the general public, standing in the town square and declaring his displeasure openly. Surely this would bring a swift resolution to his problem. It predictably, did not. Then a funny thing occurred. The person responsible for the thing he was so upset about finally got the news that the man was upset. Angry at the insult, he vowed to seek his revenge. He planned and plotted and prepared and then𠉭id nothing. He decided the matter wasn’t important enough to deal with and decided to ignore it. In the end nothing changed except for the blood pressures of the two men.

  You see what is missing from the story, don’t you? Scripture has a clear word for this situation. It is simply this, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” (Matthew 18:15).

  I have noticed that our culture has veered far away from the “just between the two of you,” command of scripture. Instead of warmly and firmly approaching a brother or sister we choose to invite the world into our problems. Please stop. Approach the person individually, speak your case and firmly state what you would like. It’s amazing the things that can be resolved when we take this simple approach to our difficulties. Jesus wasn’t just the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world—he also knew something about broken humanity. He knew something about our sinfulness that seeks public approval over restored relationships.

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