Our Journey Online - April 29, 2013

Conflict Resolution Steps Five and Six

15If your brother sins against you, goand tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.16But 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. 17If 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. —Matthew 18:15-17

So far we have looked at four steps in conflict resolution: 1) Make sure it’s a big deal; 2) Take action; 3) Be specific; 4) Private at first. These are all proactive and will generate some kind of response. If they listen, agree, and repent, “you have gained your brother.” The conflict has been resolved.

 But what if the person’s not listening? What if they turn away?

Here is Jesus’ fifth step in conflict resolution:  Increase the pressure by involving others.Verse 16 says, “But if he does not listen.” The idea is listens and takes action not just lets you say your stuff. You know when a person’s listening, really listening. “But if he does not listen,” the Word of God says, “take one or two,” not three or four. This is not intervention by a small multitude; choose two people.

How should you choose them? Take someone who knows both of you. Choose someone who is mature in the faith and has discernment. An effective witness is objective and cares about both sides. Don’t take your mom, okay? Take somebody who loves both people and who can stand in the middle and maybe tell you some things too. Increase the pressure by involving others. You say, Man, this seems like a big hassle. Why would I do all this? I’d rather just forget about the person. Well, the reason you do it is because you say you love God, and this matters to God.

Jesus’ sixth step in conflict resolution: Just the facts.Stay on topic. Jesus was referring to Deuteronomy 19:15 when He said, “That every charge may be established.” We are verifying whether this issue is legitimate or bogus. The first time I went to the person, we were trying to work everything out between us. But we had a hard time getting our views to line up. So we went and got some guys to help us, realizing the final resolution will probably be partly you’re right and partly I’m right. Others can wisely say, Well, you’re right about this, but you’re not really hearing her in that area. This can be an amazingly helpful process. Someone impartial listens to keep us on topic.

Others can help us cut the dramatic and avoid assumptions about motives. God will honor our efforts to keep the bond of peace He provides. —James MacDonald


As I look over the last several days, what is the most significant lesson about conflict resolution God has brought to me?

In what relationship might that insight make a difference?


Father, Your principles for handling conflict remind me again of the importance of living out my relationship with You in relation to others. Thank You for showing me responsibility starts between two people, but others may be needed to resolve conflict. Thank You for the value of brothers and sisters who can observe, listen, and speak into situations for those who are too close to see it all clearly. Thank You for the role You give each of us and the role You give all of us in Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God
Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God 

5 CD Series Set - $35.00

What if you believed—truly believed with all confidence that God is with you? How would today go for you if you knew without a doubt that God is in control? What would be different in your life if you were sure God is watching and good? What would you risk if you were certain God is victorious? 

Just how would believing God’s promises change your life?  

Ask the greatest Christian you’ll ever meet if they hold on to God’s promises and they’ll all say yes. Believing that God will do what He promises leads to a great life. The greatest Christian you’ll every meet knows, treasures, and is resting in the promises of God. They cling to these assurances that God gives His people so they can walk by faith while they wait for Him to work.

So what exactly does God promise?  In this topical study of what will always be true, Pastor James MacDonald will explore five great and precious promises that God keeps. Enter into this study with anticipation and faith that the God who makes these promises is faithful and true... always true.

Editors' Picks

  • How to Read & Understand the Bible in 4 Simple Steps
    How to Read & Understand the Bible in 4 Simple Steps
  • What You Need to Know about the Anglican Church
    What You Need to Know about the Anglican Church
  • 10 Valuable Reasons to Know the History of Christian Theology
    10 Valuable Reasons to Know the History of Christian Theology