Speaking of Life 5042 | Jesus Heals Relationships
Human beings were created and designed for relationships. God made us not only with the capacity to relate to him and each other but with the need to connect to thrive. Despite these truths, human beings often do things that disrupt our relationships. Even when we have the best intentions, we can hurt each other. And we respond to that hurt in different ways. Some of those ways are healthy, and some of those ways can perpetuate a cycle of harm. It is no wonder that Jesus instructed his followers on how we are to respond when fellow believers cause harm. Let’s read from Matthew 18:
If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
Matthew 18:15-20 (NRSV)
Jesus outlined a step-by-step process for how to deal with relational conflict that is very helpful from a practical standpoint. Additionally, Jesus’ teaching provides two spiritually important truths about God. First, person-to-person relationships are important to him. He is concerned about how we connect to each other. Second, God wants to see disrupted relationships restored and he takes an active role in healing our relational wounds. This does not mean that believers can expect every hurt to be healed and every broken relationship mended in this life. However, we can expect God to help us do our part to be at peace with all people.
This is good news for those of us who live in a world that often seems so divided. If we create room for him in our relationships, Jesus will show up in our squabbles, grudges, and estrangements and provide healing. He desires to be in our midst when we sit down to reconcile with a neighbor who has harmed us. In fact, when we prayerfully seek God’s help, the Holy Spirit will help us see our neighbor as Christ would see that person and treat that person as Jesus would treat them. This changes the dynamic of the relationship and puts the relational conflict in perspective. Jesus is the restorer of all things — even broken relationships.
I’m Greg Williams, Speaking of Life.