Community of Reconciliation
Martha and I watched the movie “The Butler” this week. It’s the story of one man’s life seen through the turbulent era of racism, desegregation, civil rights and the quest for human dignity. There were several moments in the movie that triggered my own memories from those years. And when I saw that conflict was imminent, I wanted to fast-forward through those scenes. My stomach knotted at white hooded Klansmen surrounding a bus or vicious racists attacking students at a lunch counter. I, like most of us, do not like conflict. I don’t like conflict in my family, among my friends, within the church staff or leadership, and particularly between Christians.
Jesus was no stranger to conflict. Conflict followed him throughout his ministry. There was conflict among his twelve disciples. There was conflict with the religious authorities. There was even conflict in his family. In most of Paul’s letters to the churches, there are portions devoted to addressing conflict of one sort or another.
The text for Sunday is the disciple’s road map for navigating conflict among believers. I invite you to read Matthew 18:15-20 and Galatians 6:1-10 as a guide for your relationship. What particular instruction jumps out at you as new, as one you have avoided or ignored, or one that has worked particularly well? How is Jesus Lord over your conflicts?