Very seldom does Jesus speak to a situation and give a step-by-step process concerning how to handle it. But He does so in Matthew 18:15 – 17. While giving direction concerning how to handle it when Christians have a beef with one another Jesus stated, “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. (Matt. 18: 15 – 17)
Small group leader, this is important stuff. Many times you’ll have a group member who is passionate to make things right with someone else. The pain of it all is heavy on them. They’ve gone to the person they are at odds with and were put off or demeaned. Because the other party blew them off, it might seem there is no other step that can be taken, the person longing to reconcile will simply live with the tension. Not so. Check out the step-by-step process Jesus gave the church.
Step 1: You go to them and no one else. Tell no one what happened. This protects the church from gossip. The goal is to reclaim a brother and to do so without including anyone else in the knowledge of the situation or in the conversation.
Step 2: If they don’t listen, take a mature follower of Christ or a couple of mature believers with you. Hopefully this will break the deadlock that is keeping reconciliation from happening.
Step 3: If they won’t listen to the two or three of you, take it to the church leadership so they can conclude how to respond to the situation.