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Making It Right

Relationships are tough sometimes.  That's almost as an obvious statement one could make.  Any relationship whether it's a dating or marriage or just a friend.  It requires time, effort, and sometimes work.  But we all know that even the best relationships have bumps in the road so then what?

We know that we're far from perfect people and scripture teaches us that "all have sinned" (Romans 3:23) and well, what that means is we don't always get it right.  So when we don't we have to seek to make it right.

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But 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. 17 If 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 ESV

Jesus maps out how to navigate relationships pretty clearly here.  Too many times in student ministry, well, in adult ministry as well, someone will come up to me and say something about their relationship with someone and immediately I'll stop them.  I'll ask them, "before you go any further, have you gone to talk to them?"  If the answer is no, which it usually is, I'll bring them back to Matthew 18 and explain this is the best way to handle this because it's the biblical way.  If they happen to say yes I'll bring them to verse sixteen and ask if they've gone with two or three others.  

You see, in bringing it to me they've effectively "brought it to the church."  The best way I've heard this presented is simply:

  1. Go 1-on-1 with a private conversation
  2. Go 2-on-1 with a semi-private conversation
  3. Go church-on-1 with a public confrontation 

Now, if you're like me, this is nothing new to you and whether you live this out or not, you've heard it many times.  What's got me thinking is what happens to the relationship after this has occurred and things have been "made right," at least seemingly?

The answer is quite simple, at least in writing it.  You have to remain engaged in the relationship.  You can't think that because you've gone to them and either apologized for something or brought something to their attention the relationship is suddenly restored.  The deeper the offense, the harder you're going to have to work to ultimately make things right again.  It's interesting that we think we can apologize but yet remain checked out of a relationship and think that things should be better.  Yes they've wounded you or perhaps it's the other way around but if the relationship is worth it, you're going to have to put in the effort.

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
— Proverbs 18:24 NKJV

Let me say this another way, to have friends you have to be a friend.  We have to come to a place of recognizing our insecurities and woundings will want to hold a grudge or put up walls but that's just separating ourselves from the very people we need in our lives and then we have to audacity to say I have no friends.  We are hardwired for relationships and even though we sometimes don't think it, we need people in our lives.  

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
— Ephesians 5:15-21 ESV

Successful relationships require mutual submission.  My hope, as with anything I write, is that you be challenged and to be encouraged.  You're not alone in what you face.  Spend some time thinking about those relationships that are fragile right now.  What do you need to do to begin to make them right again?  It's worth it!

Eric FosheeComment