To be the greatest of all time you must be able to do this one thing right!
“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.” Matthew 18:15
Imagine picking your car up from the shop after a routine tune-up and the technician says, "This car is in great shape. Clearly you have an automotive genius to take great care of your car." Later that day, your brakes don't work. You find out you were out of brake fluid. You could have died.
You go back to the shop, and you say, "Why didn't you tell me?" The technician replies, "Well, I didn't want you to feel bad. Plus, to be honest, I was afraid you might get upset with me. I want this to be a safe place where you feel loved and accepted." You'd be furious! You'd say, "I didn't come here for a little fantasy-based ego boost! When it comes to my car, I want the truth."
Or imagine going to the doctor's office for a check-up. The doctor says to you, "You are a magnificent physical specimen. You have the body of an Olympian. You are to be congratulated." Later that day while climbing the stairs, your heart gives out. You find out later your arteries were so clogged that you were like one jelly doughnut away from the grim reaper.
You go back to the doctor and say, "Why didn't you tell me?" The doctor says, "Well, I knew your body is in worse shape than the Pillsbury doughboy, but if I tell people stuff like that, they get kind of offended. It's kind of bad for business. They don't come back. I want this to be a safe place where you feel loved and accepted." You'd be furious! You'd say to the doctor, "When it comes to my body, I want the truth!"
Obviously, when something matters to us, we do not want illusory comfort based on pain avoidance. We want truth … except when it comes to me. When it comes to me, I'm not sure I want the truth. Winston Churchill wrote, "Men occasionally stumble on the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." Question: How much does your soul matter to you, really?
One more scenario: Imagine going to a church where you hear, "Don't worry if you mismanage your anger. Nobody here will confront you on that because we don't like conflict. Don't worry if you hoard lots of money. Lots of us have lots of money, but we'll never ask you to give because then some people might get mad and leave. Don't worry if you're passive in the face of injustice. We prefer passivity. We might talk occasionally about sin, especially sin out there, but nobody here will talk to you about your sin because then we wouldn't feel good. The goal is to walk out of this church feeling good!" John Ortberg
To be the greatest of all time we must first understand v. 1-5. Jesus is dealing with the disciples question of who is the greatest. It’s his immediate response to this that stands out to me.
He calls to a child, which in the Jewish culture at the time, was considered of little value and says to be like the child! The lowliest of lowlies! But it’s not about being worthless, it’s about being gentle through humility.
Jesus doesn’t want us to fail at being unified, as a church, a community and in our most intimate relationships. This is about unity and rejecting division in our relationships. If we don’t humbly confront each other then life gets unbearable.
Genesis 27:41–45 (NLT) — 41 From that time on, Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. And Esau began to scheme: “I will soon be mourning my father’s death. Then I will kill my brother, Jacob.” 42 But Rebekah heard about Esau’s plans. So she sent for Jacob and told him, “Listen, Esau is consoling himself by plotting to kill you. 43 So listen carefully, my son. Get ready and flee to my brother, Laban, in Haran. 44 Stay there with him until your brother cools off. 45 When he calms down and forgets what you have done to him, I will send for you to come back. Why should I lose both of you in one day?”
Proverbs 19:13 (NLT) — 13 A foolish child is a calamity to a father; a quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping.
Proverbs 21:9 (NLT) — 9 It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.
Proverbs 21:19 (NLT) — 19 It’s better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife.
Don’t avoid conflict, but you must still confront through the fruit of the spirit.
Galatians 2:11 (NLT) — 11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong.
John 18:26 (NLT) — 26 But one of the household slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Didn’t I see you out there in the olive grove with Jesus?” This one really stood out to me! So convicting because I tend to run away from times like this.
Romans 14:19 (NLT) — 19 So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.
Romans 15:5 (NLT) — 5 May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 13:11 (NLT) — 11 Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.
Ephesians 4:3 (NLT) — 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.
Romans 14:1 (NLT) — 1 Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong.
Why does seeking peace and harmony matter? Those who seek to resolve disagreement are blessed
Matthew 5:9 (NLT) — 9 God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
James 3:18 (NLT) — 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.
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