Your roommate eats half of the meatball sub that you packed for tomorrow’s lunch. What do you do?
When somebody wrongs you, often your first instinct is to get others involved who aren’t part of the problem. Why do you do this? Let’s face it, most of us have insecurities and work hard at self-protection. So it could be your ‘fight or flight’ instinct kicking in. You might be looking for affirmation to prove that you are right. You could even be subconsciously attempting to build an alliance against the wrongdoer. In your more insidious moments, you might even be trying to destroy this person’s reputation.
Jesus teaches us how to respond when someone personally wrongs us: “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” (Mt 18:15, ESV).
The goal of confrontation should always be reconciliation, to “gain your brother.” Reconciliation means to re-align a relationship, to bring people back together. So the goal of confrontation shouldn’t be to shame the other person, to prove that you’re right, or to put them in their place. These shallow and shadow goals shipwreck relationships and never lead to reconciliation.
This is why Jesus taught that the starting point of confrontation is a personal and private conversation: “between you and him alone.”
So if somebody personally wrongs you…
Don’t go and blab about it to everyone.
Don’t tell your mother, your mechanic, your masseuse, or your meteorologist.
Don’t share it with the prayer team.
Or your BFFs or your BFAs.
Don’t post it, tweet it, or blog about it.
If they are not part of the problem, they are not part of the solution.
The moment you start talking to people who aren’t part of the problem, you are slandering or gossiping.
You are not acting in love. You are not seeking reconciliation.
A peacemaker will seek out the person directly in order to make things right.
This is a rewind to one of my recent teaching messages at Crosspoint Church. You can hear the full message here.