June 21, 2007

Tough Love

Matthew 18:15-20

"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you." Matt. 18:15


It's much easier to talk about someone who has offended you than to talk to that person about the offense. It's easier to run down someone's reputation than to confront in a loving way.

Members of the body of Christ are called to love and serve each other, and when one person offends another, those two persons are responsible to work out their differences. It is not for others to judge or interfere. The first responsibility is with the people involved. Such conversations are seldom easy, but they are necessary for the body of Christ to be vital and healthy. Only if differences cannot be resolved may others be asked to participate in the reconciliation process.

Often in our attempts to avoid confrontation we prevent conversations between members of Christ's body that will restore relationships. Fear of what might happen prevents reconciliation. God understands that reconciliation comes with a price--and he paid the ultimate price that brings about reconciliation with his children. God sent his Son to the cross to make redemption a reality in the lives of his people.

Restoring relationships is not easy. Reconciliation is hard, painful work. But followers of Christ, filled with his Spirit, will make the effort to bring peace and love into a world of conflict and hatred.

Father, give us courage and wisdom as we seek to restore broken relationships in our lives. May we bring Christ's redemptive power into the lives of everyone around us. Amen.

About the author — Jerry Dykstra

Pastor Jerry Dykstra was recently appointed as the executive director of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. After a 15-year career in business, he trained for pastoral ministry and served as the pastor of Cascade Fellowship CRC, Cascade, Michigan, and Faith Christian Fellowship CRC, Walnut Creek, California. He and his wife, Linda, live in Byron Center, Michigan, and have three children and seven grandchildren.

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