Resolving Racism Bible Study (RRBS)- Part 4 of Many
I am not mad at anybody. As far as I know I have resolved all the conflicts I have with other people. I do not think anybody is mad at me and if they are, I welcome a phone call. I must admit I am not crazy about the guy I saw on twitter who said disparaging things about me just because I am white. I can see how that kind of rhetoric could upset a fellow. And unfortunately, our minority brothers and sisters have had to deal with that kind of disparagement for years.
Now do not get me wrong I have had my share of hurt feelings and made more than a handful of people mad over the years. I once did a conflict resolution talk and afterwards we had an extensive question and answer session. I used a lot of personal illustrations and after the seminar one of the students came up and said, “man, you get into a lot of conflict.” I guess I do. My hypothesis is that we all do. When people gather conflict is inevitable. I love the proverb that says, “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” Proverbs 10:19. The more we interact the more the opportunity for offence.
We addressed the passage for today in our series on conflict resolution, click here to see that article.
But I think I am going to focus our attention on vs 25 and 26 for this article
5:23 “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,
24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.
25 “Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.
26 “Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last centMatthew Chapter 5
Let’s make some observations:
- We are to make friends quickly
- The opponent is one in which we have a dispute about the law
- Question? God’s law or man’s law or both
- We are encouraged to settle before you get to the judge
- Once you make it to the judge it is no longer in your control
- If you are in the wrong the judge can and will throw you in prison
- You don’t get out of prison till you have reconciled with opponent
Proverbs 18:17 say, “The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him.”
We would be wise to heed this counsel. You may think you are right and have worked out all the details of your defense. It sounds good. Your advocates agree that your position is strong. And you move to the reconciliation with the confidence of arrogance only to find out that you are wrong. Your cause seems just till the other guy shares his side of the story. And then you find yourself vulnerable. And must deal with the consequences of your failed argument.
My son picked up a saying somewhere that I love. “You were right, I was wrong. The way I was thinking was incorrect.” That is exactly what you will be saying if you lose your case.
The way that this passage strikes me is that it is very possible that I am wrong on the issues to which I am so confident that I am right. And that I need to approach difficult situations with humility. On the racism front I need to seek to understand what the other guy is saying, give him the benefit of the doubt and work quickly to make friends.
I am still not quite sure what to do about this group reconciliation. That is the breakthrough of wisdom I need. Person to person make sense to me. I am still a little foggy about group to group reconciliation.
Maybe I will get more insight on that as we continue our study.