On Saturday evening during a storm, a falling branch several homes away made contact with the line that provides power to our street, causing the breaker at the corner (picture) to sever our power until it could be reset 16 hours later. Such safety precautions reduce the chance of a live wire on the ground injuring an unsuspecting person.
Matthew (chapter 18) gives instructions to reduce the destructiveness of conflict in the church. When there is conflict, members are called to gently go to the source of the offense and be reconciled. Each of us shares responsibility for conflict and how it is handled. A humble response smooths the way for reconciliation, upholding the peace of Christ.
If rejected, humbly returning to the “offender” with one or two neutral parties may help. If that doesn’t work (and it seems this final drastic response could only be for a conflict which threatens to turn the community from the love of Christ) we are called to love the offender but refuse to have any part in their ego-driven conflict.
Such boundaries make the church a safer place. Jesus invites us to be saved by love even in the most challenging situations. Humility in love is the beginning and end of peace in Christ. Amen.