“Relationship to Friends” – Matthew 18:15-18 – Pastor Bruce Lerum

Thinking that Christians should always agree and fear conflict will damage relationships.

Avoid the temptation to escape or attack when faced with conflict.

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” – Matthew 18:15 

Watch out for 2X4s!

Unrealistic expectations easily become perceptions that must be discarded.

Repent before God.

Fear, Love, and Trust God.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” – Matthew 7:3 

We are commanded by God, empowered by His Spirit and directed toward reconciliation.

Jesus reminds us we may need “assisted peacemaking”.

“But if they 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 they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church…” – Matthew 18:16-17a 


Study Questions:

1. Would you say people are often better at working for peace with friends than they are with family? If so why do you think that is?

2. How can you determine whether it’s better to overlook an offense than confront the person that offended you? What are the benefits or drawbacks of each approach?

3. In looking at an offense, consider the following additional questions:

Is it dishonoring to God? If so, how?

Is it damaging to your relationship? If so how?

Is it hurting others? If so, how?

Is it hurting that person? If so, how?

Is it making that person less useful to the Lord?

4. What are some of the signs you need to be aware of that indicate your need to bring “the church” into some of these difficult conversations?

5. Why is it important to have some stories of success in these interventions to keep you motivated and to help you recover when they don’t always work?