As a side effect of our Western love affair with personal autonomy, American emotions have become increasingly fragile. A few months ago, I heard someone jokingly say, “Good morning, America. What can I be offended about today?” Social media has given every person a public platform. But instead of using our platforms for culture-cultivation, our sin-scarred hearts (Jeremiah 17:9) are naturally inclined to use them for ventilation.
In one season or another, every one of us has needed to either build or rebuild trust. The issue of trust is a human issue. Building it is crucial to every budding relationship, and rebuilding it is crucial to every damaged one. So, how do we build or rebuild trust? They didn't teach me math in seminary, but over the years, I have used this formula:
TRUST = (Truth + Transparency) * Time
In Matthew 18:15–20, Jesus outlines a very clear and specific way for conflict to be addressed. This is based upon that fact that relationships between people are very important to God. Especially as leaders, we should have the maturity to follow Christ's powerful wisdom in this area. So, here are four steps involved in Jesus’s reconciliation process.
What are the little things we let divide the church? As small differences carve deeper divides in the church, we must be careful not to turn our eyes and weapons against our brothers as the Israelites were tempted to do. We must fight not to look at those who have been in the trench with us and wonder if they, too, are just a little too dangerously different.
“We need to talk.” That simple sentence can spark fear and trembling, especially when there’s disagreement. We know conversation is a path forward but we also fear it may be unproductive and difficult. When we create a container for overheated conversations, we can talk things out without hurting ourselves or anyone else. We can make progress toward mutual understanding and decision-making.