Our scripture this week is Matthew 18:15-20.
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.
“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” (v. 18). We have heard this before in a slightly different way in Matthew 16:19, where Jesus tells Peter and the disciples about the seriousness of the authority they are being given. Jesus is warning them (and us) that our decisions and actions have eternal consequences.
Whether we like it or not, the world views those of us who claim His name as the representation of Jesus. When we behave in un-Christlike ways towards each other it confuses the message He brought. The Apostle Paul writes “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you” (1 Corinthians 1:10).
We may still disagree, but how we treat each other while we handle the issue is essential. Jesus charges us to love one another as He first loved us. We mustn’t let conflict distract us from the goal and responsibility with which we have been entrusted.
Gracious God, You created us in Your image, but we often fail to live into that blessing. Help us to be more like Jesus in our words and actions, loving each other as You love us. Amen.