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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dealing With A Grudge

Ever had a grudge with someone? Can you feel your blood pressure rise at the very sight of that person? Haven't we all? Did you know that the Bible speaks to this very issue?
In Matthew 18, Jesus instructs his disciples:
If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you've made a friend. If he won't listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won't listen, tell the church. If he won't listen to the church, you'll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God's forgiving love(15-17, MSG).
Unfortunately, we have a habit if mixing it around. Someone ticks us off. The first thing we do is go tell our friends. Or we spiritualize our gossip and "share" it among our small group so we can "pray" for this individual. Before long it is well-known throughout the congregation.After this, we finally go to the individual and deal with the issue.
How many relationships could be restored if we just dealt with disagrements as Jesus instructed? How many divided congregations could be united by behaving biblically? How many church splits could be avoided by humility?
The most troubling part about a grudge is the one we harbor the grudge against probably doesn't even care! They are not obsessed with this apparent wrongdoing. In many cases, they are completely unaware of it.
Again, if we were to deal with this biblically, and go to them first, then they would be aware of it.
The best strategy for conflict resolution? Go to to the person first, and possibly avoid the pain of gossip, and the humiliation of being ostracized.

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