Many years ago, I was working with a mission organization. On that team, there was a sweet young lady and for some reason (I have no idea why now, but at the time thought it was cute), I would call her ‘punk’.
I truly meant it in an endearing type of way. One day, she pulled me aside and told me that she did not like the name and asked me to stop as it was hurtful. I was surprised, but I was so grateful that she did. Here I had been doing something that I thought was cute, but it was hurting my co-worker.
Tell your brother if he has wronged you
This young lady did something that the church needs to remember and practice, that is the Matthew Chapter 18, verse 15 principle, which tells you “If your brother sins, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.”
This young lady was wise beyond her years. She could have said nothing and that might have been easier initially, however it would have caused her to have more hurt feelings. Those feelings would have begun to fester, and she could have become bitter and angry toward me.
This would have spread, and now other parts of my life would have begun to annoy or frustrate her to the point that our ministry would have been affected. All the while I would not have had any idea of this until a major blow up happened between us.
However, this young lady chose godliness by acknowledging and confronting me in love and letting me know that it was causing her pain. We dealt with it right there and then, and you know what, I never called her a punk again. We were able to have a good friendship because Romans Chapter 13, verse 10, tells us that “Love does no wrong to a neighbour.” Previously I had no idea it hurt her, but when she brought it up I humbled myself and I repented for my words.
The church needs to confront one and other in love
How many times has someone hurt you and you just left it? And that little hurt turned into a big hurt that caused some serious damage. As believers, we are called to a higher standard. We are called to keep the peace and unity and that sometimes involves confronting each other in love. In our walk we need to be honest with each other and confess and repent.
In the 5th chapter of Matthew, verses 22-23 reminds us to choose to be reconciled by saying, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”
We cannot ignore the fact that we have hurt others or others have hurt us. The truth is we still sin and need to confess to one another, so we do not give the enemy a foothold. Our role is to approach the situation in love and try our best to resolve it by humbling ourselves.
We are all called to keep short accounts
The next time someone does something and it offends you, rather than dwelling on it, why not bring it up to your brother or sister in Christ. Thinking what is best of them as it tells us in 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 and working it out for the good of the body. The church might find that by each of us taking this small step, a lot of conflict and division can be avoided.
In saying this, is there someone in your life that you need to run to in love and ask for forgiveness? Is there a situation that you have let get out of hand because you would just rather avoid than say anything? Well, today, while it is still today is the day to go and have that chat. Don’t let the enemy steal the unity and love that is supposed to mark us as Christians.
Genevieve Wilson is Canadian. a happily married home-schooling mum of 3, whose passion is to see people come to know Jesus. She is a seminary wife to her amazing husband.