Matthew 18:15-35
Misdeed Management

Everybody screws up.

For our own screw-ups, Jesus said to ask for forgiveness. No more Old Testament bird sacrifices and such. No more carrying around those 10,000 pound gorillas of shame and regret. It’s pretty straightforward and life giving.

But then there’s that matter of other people’s screw-ups. What are we to do about those?

Jesus, who was a pretty amazing HR Manager, gave us two models for dealing with our peers; first, by providing a conflict resolution model. If someone sins, go to the person privately. If that doesn’t work, take others. If that doesn’t work, take it to the church.

Secondly, by providing a forgiveness model. “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” In other words, just keep forgiving.

I think it’s interesting that these two passages are back-to-back. Are we supposed to confront people or forgive them?

I think both. Matthew 10:16 says we’re to be both shrewd and innocent.   

Shrewd            =          healthy conflict resolution
Innocent          =          healthy forgiveness

I think we get what Jesus is saying. Sometimes we need to deal with problems in the ranks and there’s a process for that. To let things go would be disastrous. But in our own hearts, we are to forgive. That keeps our hearts innocent and free and loving.

Jesus had a lot of really good ideas.

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