Have you noticed the temperature around you lately? Not the physical temperature, but the temperature of people. It seems kindness is the thing of the past and everyone has a short fuse ready to POP at the first person who sets us over the edge. It could be the dude at the drive-thru that sets us off, or a Facebook post we see on our timeline. It feels like we are all in one big vending machine full of shaken up soda ready to burst.
I’ve been processing this in my mind the past week, and I’ve come to the conclusion that we have sickness that a dose of Matthew 18 could cure if we let it.
You’ve seen it on your Facebook feed. You’ve probably been guilty of it yourself. I know I have. I like to call them “drive-by Facebook smashing.” It’s when someone hangs their dirty laundry about another person on their wall, posting everything about the situation… just leaving out the “perps” name. It can be done politely and flowery, angrily with one big SPLAT, or even spiritually with a holy verse.
These posts might make us feel better, but I think we fail to realize how much they hurt.
I don’t do this very often, but for just a moment, I’ve opened up my heart to show you the conviction I’ve been under and how God is working on ME. You see, I’ve been guilty of this very thing. My pastor likes to call it convictional preaching. (kinda painful)
What if we did conflict God’s way? We have the instructions. We’ve been given the tools. The cure for our disease is right in front of us if we would just take it out of the medicine cabinet! The problem is, it’s painful to use. I’ll never forget the time, I dumped a story on one of my dearest friends about how I had been betrayed by a fellow sister in Christ, and my precious friend said… “Monica, did you go to her and tell her what you told me?”
Matthew 18 gives us the antidote. It says:
If Your Brother Sins Against You
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed[f] in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
That’s tough stuff. First I have to go to my brother or sister who offended me. I know I don’t like to do that! It’s easier to get people on my side BEFORE I go to the perp. It’s easier to not have to say the tough stuff to someone, so we self medicate with gossip and Facebook smashing. Only AFTER I go to my brother or sister, and they don’t listen, so I take another person with me.
Going back to the scenario I described above with my friend. Do you know what happened when I went to her and told her I was hurt? I found out I had the story all wrong, and there had been a miscommunication. A friendship would have been destroyed or at the very least hurt, had my friend not had the courage to speak truth in my life.
Sometimes I find this hard to do politically as well. There have been times when I’ve posted something on Facebook about a politician, that if I just would have picked up the phone to find out the truth first, I would not have destroyed someone’s character.
Please don’t misread what I am saying. Speaking truth on terrible voting practices is not wrong. Social media is a powerful way to stand for truth and hold our elected officials accountable publicly. Just make sure you call them first to let them know you disagree and give them a chance to tell you why they did what they did. (again, I am a work in progress)
This is tough stuff. I’ve opened up my heart to show you some of the ugly stuff in there, let me close with a simple prayer to my Father.
Jesus, would you make me aware of the times I need to do conflict right? Would you highlight those things for me? When those ugly tough times come, would you give me the courage to follow your instructions? I’m so grateful for your convicting tugs to draw me closer to yourself. Help us all live in the center of your blueprint… your design.