Relationships among brethren can become one of the hardest minefields to navigate this side of eternity. Whether stemming from a deep seated theological disconnect (i.e. someone living in sin and needing to change), or something as simple as an alleged pew-thief that needs to take the carpet walk to the front and apologize, how we interact with others of like-precious faith says a lot about the faith that we possess ourselves. It can even be seen as one of the distinguishing markers of pure Christianity, since Jesus Himself claimed, “By this, all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

All of us have experience in this matter, whether it’s current or past, and the chances are good that we will deal with brotherhood relationships untold amounts of times in the future, so how do we handle it? Fortunately, God’s Word has answers for us no matter which side of the argument we’re on.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches the impact of our relationships with each other in respect to our relationships with God: “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering” (Matt. 5:23-24). The effect is not lost on the reader: when a brother has a complaint against you, the onus is on you to reach out and attempt to remedy that wrong. Why? Because unless we’re willing to seek forgiveness from our brethren, how can we seek forgiveness from God? 

The opposite is true as well: if you are the one wronged, seek reconciliation with the one who wronged you. Anticipating that the offender may not want to remedy the situation (or even acknowledge the wrong in any way), Jesus commands you to go to that person (not Facebook), and show them the wrong in question; the intensity of the confrontation increases if the one charged continues to deny it (Matthew 18:15-17). 

Notice that in both cases, the responsibility relies on both parties, since in every dispute there is a wrong-er and a wrong-ee. If both parties are willing to confront the other person about the incident that took place, the situation would be solved quickly and no further harm would result. It is only when we stubbornly refuse to address the issue and choose to sweep it under the rug that it erupts further into a volcano of accusations that everyone else has since forgotten. Sometimes it can still be settled then, other times it divides churches. Regardless of who is wrong, the solution is the same: fix it now! 

Last modified: January 22, 2019