Personal Resolution or Public Retribution?

Matthew 18:12-18

Proverbs 10:12

  • Reflect on passages alone or with a small group.

I’ve always liked this passage, as it describes a reasonably common-sense process for dealing with conflict. Yet, as easy as it sounds, the first two steps are often left out in our world today. We find it excruciatingly hard to confront someone who has insulted us personally, and it seems more comfortable to call them out in front of others, especially on social media. It seems more satisfying when others agree we hurt and condemn the offender rather than resolving the conflict in private and moving on. 

It is in this uncomfortable process that God’s wisdom is seen. If we aren’t willing to engage someone personally, then the offense isn’t worth counting. Forget it and move on. If forgetting isn’t an option, then we must harness the courage to address the offender personally. God calls us to act by love, which includes how we manage those who sin against us. We are to uphold the dignity bestowed upon all His creation and remind ourselves that public vilification is retribution, not resolution. 

Think of all the times we’ve sinned against God? How great would we feel if God announced our offenses from the heavens for all to hear? And doing so without a chance to defend, clarify, or ask for our forgiveness before He revealed it. Peace of mind comes from resolution; more strife and agony come from retribution.

Heavenly Father, 

Being a Christian Responder puts me at risk of being offended at everything! Every shift brings with it offenders, slanderers, angry people, and those who wish me harm simply because of the uniform I wear. Sometimes I find offense from people who aren’t even trying to offend me. Calm my Spirit, Lord. And remind me that if a sin against me isn’t worth the effort to seek personal resolution, then it isn’t worth ruminating on. If it is, give me the strength to address the offender in private and escalate from there if needed. Your peace, love, and presence are more significant than any offense against me. Amen.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on

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