Matthew 18:1-35
Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap

Matthew 18:1-35

Handling conflicts. It’s a part of life. We know the devil loves division and turning Believers against each other. Paul wrote in Romans 16:17, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” Don’t be a person that spreads rumors or gossip. It’s sinful and God hates it. But, what about when you hear something that is true about somebody? They are doing something that they should not do. What if you see someone overtaken by a sin? What should you do?


I.    Take Heed:

a.    (Matthew 18:10-17) Jesus is talking about those in the family of God, the members of the body of Christ. “Despise” means “to look down on, inferior, not worth consideration or care,” and to treat them as worthless. Jesus is telling us not to take one of God’s precious children and treat them with contempt.

b.    (Philippians 2:1-4) We should look out for and champion one another. Jesus said, “Don’t despise each other.” Our actions impact other people. Especially younger Christians. We have the Bible. That’s the standard. But based on our situation, there may be things okay for some people and not for us, but neither can violate the standard of God’s Word (Romans 14:16-22). What we do and how we do it affects other people, and that’s OUR problem. We can’t say they shouldn’t be looking at me. No. You impact others. And others impact you. Romans 14 says, “None of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself alone.” We’re the church, the body, and we must put the concerns of others above our own.


II.    Watch Your Mouth:

a.    (Ephesians 4:29) This is specifically identified as something that grieves the Holy Spirit. The word “grieve” means to make sad or sorrowful. You grieve the Spirit of God when you gossip, are bitter, when you rage, when you are angry for no just cause. But so much damage can be caused by our words. If only we would think first and speak later. Contemplate how that is going to affect somebody else. The Bible says, “Let every man be slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to anger.” Are you more ready to listen than to speak (Matthew 12:36)? 


III.    Lead with Love:
a.    We despise one another when we are indifferent or judgmental toward a fellow believer who sins. Both extremes are wrong. Indifference would be an unwillingness to go to a person and confront them with the things that could ultimately destroy them. The opposite is to be judgmental. Write them off. Jesus is saying that God loves them and His heart aches for them.

b.    When we know of a Believer who has been overtaken in sin, our hearts should hurt for them. Care for them. Desire to seek to bring them back. To restore. Don’t condone overlook sin. Have compassion in redeeming someone lost or struggling (Peter 4:7-10).  Can you surrender that to God? Your right to judge or to hold a grudge? Your right to carry around offenses?  Can you surrender your heart to God and say Lord make me a peacemaker? Make me a repairer of the breach. Make me a minister of reconciliation? Love through me? Make me a good steward of Your manifold grace?