Biblical Conflict Resolution
All Three Steps of Biblical Conflict Resolution According to Matthew 18:15-17
“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
- The context immediately prior to this about how God doesn’t want anyone to lose their way (the parable of the lost sheep). Our heart attitude needs to reflect God’s grief at someone losing their way out of genuine love and concern, and happiness when they are found!
- Going and showing your brother his fault is actually quoted from Leviticus 19:17 New International Version (©1984) “Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt.”
- This is to occur as a private matter between the two of you alone. No other party is to be privy to this unless this first step fails to resolve the conflict. This circumvents any possibility of gossip or slander as the matter is contained until it can be discussed and possibly resolved.
- Winning your brother over is not just about you and he and resolving conflict. It is about opening his eyes to the truth of the Kingdom of God in the matter. It is winning him back to God in the area he has fallen short.
- This passage is about “real sin” not false perceptions. This very act of going to your brother may just confirm that it is a wrong perception, not a sin at all. So if the perceived conflict if not a “real sin” is never spoken about with your brother, you may never reach the realization that it is in fact a misunderstanding.
- Proceeding to Part 2 of Biblical Conflict resolution is only to occur if the brother you are in conflict with doesn’t comprehend or attend to the sin being brought to his attention.
- Any witnesses taken along need to be aware that this is mainly for the purposes of lovingly helping a lost brother to find his way back to truth.
- Being a malicious or false witness was considered a very serious offence, punishable by the same chastisement exercised toward the sinning brother (ie eye for an eye). Choosing credible witnesses was a serious responsibility.
- The matter to be established again goes back to what God considers “missing the mark” and as revealed by Him by a word infused or inspired by the Holy Spirit.
- Matters were established by the testimony of two to three witness as a safeguard to ensuring that Gods inspired and revealed truth was agreed upon, not just the circumstantial evidence.
- This is as much a centering on God’s purposes in the matter for Kingdom community or the Bride of Christ, as it is a correction procedure, and was considered the official manual.
- The objective of this step was to keep the brother intact and firm in Kingdom community. It was to strengthen not weaken Kingdom community.
- We only proceed to Part 3 of the conflict resolution if Parts 1 & 2 fail.
- The brother is to be taken to a community of believers in the Kingdom of God.
- If the brother did not obey and apply the advice of the community the community is instructed to distance themselves.
- This distance was removal from close fellowship within the community.
- The community was to still unconditionally love the brother from a distance as God loved the lost sheep.
- This was for the sake of the community of believers as it was for the erring brother.
- Distancing the brother was for the purposes of bringing him to a point of repentance and eventual reconciliation with God and the community, regarding the sin.