Sunday, March 14, 2010

Unpacking Forgiveness, VI of ?

Chapter 8
Should I Just Get Over It?

Let's review. Matthew 18 is Jesus' most extended teaching on how believers should work through differences. Jesus gave this discourse at a time when his disciples were arguing about who would be the greatest.
  • Jesus first stressed humility (Matthew 18:1-4). We saw in Chapter 6 that biblical humility is seeing self in proper relationship to our Heavenly Father - completely dependent on him. Biblical humility stops conflict where it begins by dealing with our own selfish desires. The only way to truly grow in humility is to know God more.
  • Chapter 7 covered Matthew 18:5-14. Jesus taught that Christians should be urgent in resolving differences. Believers should fear creating or prolonging any scandal that would cause others to sin. Conflicts should be resolved as though lives depend on it.
Having laid this groundwork, Jesus next taught in Matthew 18:15-21 how a believer should go about approaching someone who has offended him. In the following chapter we will see that in these verses Jesus laid out very specific steps to take when working through forgiveness.

Before considering how we should approach someone who has caused offense, however, we should first ask, should everything be confronted? In this chapter we will consider how to discern whether a matter should be dropped. 

To Drop or Not To Drop?
. . . how do I know when to confront something and when to overlook it?

The short answer is that it is a matter of wisdom or discernment. Each time you are offended, you need to wisely decide whether or not you need to bring it up. Only you can make the decision, but several diagnostic questions can help you work through it.

Before confronting ask: 
1. "Have I examined myself yet?"
2. "How sure am I that I am right?"
3. "How important is this?"
4. "Does this person show a pattern of this kind of behavior?"
5. "What do wise people counsel me to do?"
6. "What else is going on in the other person's world?"
(In the book Mr. Brauns explains the use of each question in order for one to better determine if a conflict should be dropped.)

What "Dropping It" Doesn't Mean
"Dropping it" does not mean talking to everyone else about it. If you decide to drop the matter, then do not say another word about it. And if someone comes to you complaining about how he or she has been treated, encourage him or her to go directly to the other person. Avoid a person who talks too much (Proverbs 20:19). If the person responds that it is not that big of a deal, then remind him or her either to approach the other person or let go of it. Where there is no gossip, a quarrel will soon fizzle (Proverbs 26:20). If a person comes to confide in you and insists that the other party will not listen, offer to go with him or her on the second visit. (Matthew 18:15-17).

   (pages 95 - 103)

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