squabble_sheepPresented here is a method I’ve used successfully in helping Christians reconcile who are at odds with each other. You may want to consider this model to help Christians who need to reconcile (Phil 4:2-3). If Christians cannot or will not reconcile and be restored with one another, the validity of the message of the cross is compromised if not invalidated (Sadly, I’ve had church members tell deacons about this process, “I don’t want reconciliation!”).

First… Require the parties to read, meditate, and reflect on Scriptures for 7 days as a foundation for future discussions. Affirm that, “Nothing tests obedience to Christ like conflict.”

Matthew 18:15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (Note: 18:15 must happen first. If they refuse 18:15, I would approach the meeting differently {See last point below}).

Gal 6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

James 4:1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.

Ro 12:9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Eph 4:25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

2 Cor 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Ps 26:2 Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind.

Ps 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Ps 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

1 Cor 4:2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.

1 Cor 11:27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves TRULY, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

Second… Have the following ground rules for the meeting.

Rule 1: Do not interrupt while others are speaking.

Rule 2: Respect each other. No rolling eyes, huffing, angry looks, or raised voices.

Rule 3: Stick to specific events and facts.

Rule 4: Each will be able to give their side of an event after the other person has finished.

Rule 5: All must agree that Scripture is Law for all discussions.

Rule 6: Reserve the right as mediator to guide and lead the discussion.

Rule 7: Confidentiality is required.

Third… At the meeting, hear statements of problem issues and listen to follow-up replies.

After each has stated their position and considered the other person’s reply, strongly encourage them to give specific ways they will work to heal the relationship while moving toward forgiveness. If they do not give ways to be reconciled, as the mediator you suggest them.

Fourth… As the one to help in reconciling, encourage the following:

Why Jesus died… (To reconcile them to God through forgiveness).

The importance of restoration and reconciliation (Proves the validity of the Gospel).

The necessity of working hard… together… from this point forward… toward forgiveness.

The requirement of repentance (Feeling Sorry Isn’t Repentance).

Each party give specific ways they can work toward forgiving and reconciling for God’s glory, the Church, and their relationship.

Fifth… Depending on the circumstances and outcome, remind each party of the following:

If you will not forgive from your heart, examine your conversion (Mt 18:35; Mt 6:14; Col 3:13)

If you will not be reconciled or repent, you should resign from all church leadership positions because you have invalidated your ministry and integrity to be reconciled one to another.

Implore both parties NOT to say anything about the other person to anyone UNLESS it is positive, loving, and gracious.

LAST: If the parties wouldn’t meet prior to convening with them (Or are unwilling to be reconciled), I would… (Have not had to go this far… yet.)

Ask them if they are genuinely believers…

Ask them if God’s Word is true and THE rule for their life…

If these questions are answered affirmatively… and they still won’t reconcile, I would say the following:

First… Both of you are in rebellion to God for not talking privately. Confess it to Him and ask His forgiveness.

Second… Until both of you begin the process of reconciliation know that you cannot worship God rightly (Mt 5:23-24)

Third… Until both of you get right with God and begin working toward forgiving and loving each other, know that your prayers will go unanswered (Is 1:15).

Fourth… Unless both of you repent beginning today, I will recommend that the church withdraw fellowship from you until you do repent and begin working to heal the relationship with each other (1 Cor 5:11-12).

I can gladly report I have seen God’s healing without having to go further than step four! When God’s people honor Him, He honors them… and HE is glorified!