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Relationship Matters

• Greg Boyd
Guest Panelists: Lambers Fisher, Shawna Boren, Rob Kistler

After a brief introduction, Greg invites panel participants to give insight and practical direction on dealing with interpersonal conflict and reconciliation.

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During this sermon, Greg provided a recap of last week’s sermon by Tara Beth Leach on Jesus’ teaching about the Kingdom value of interpersonal relationships. This was followed by a panel discussion that included Shawna Boren, Rob Kistler and Lambers Fisher to explore the practical ramifications of Jesus’ teaching in our everyday lives.

Some of the questions they explored included:

  • We often hear that we must pursue reconciliation when some has wronged us, but in Matthew 5:23-26 Jesus teaches that we are to pursue reconciliation when someone thinks we have wronged them. Do you think this difference is significant?
  • Does being reconciled mean that I have to like or trust the person who hurt me?
  • What is the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation?
  • How do un-reconciled relationships affect future relationships?
  • Jesus’ instruction about purging all anger, all insult-thinking and all lust from our hearts and minds appear hopelessly unrealistic. If the bar for entering the Kingdom is this high, are not the vast majority of us doomed?
  • How do personality differences contribute to conflict and misunderstanding?

Through the interaction of the panel members, we are offered clarity regarding what it means to follow Jesus’ teaching regarding having a righteousness that is beyond that of the Pharisees in our daily relationships. We learn that God values how we treat others at a surprisingly high level, to the point that if we are in worship and there remember that we have offended another that we are to leave worship and seek reconciliation.

We also discover the distinction between forgiveness and reconciliation, two experiences that are often conflated to the point of confusion. We are given practical direction on how we might enter into both and how we might move forward with forgiveness and reconciliation when the other party is not moving with us.

This is a powerful and insightful discussion about how we can participate with God’s mission in the world to live in love as Christ loved us and gave his life for us.

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Topics: Conflict, Reconciliation, Relationships

Sermon Series: Sermon on the Mount, Change of Heart

Downloads & Resources

Audio File
Study guide
Group Study Guide
The MuseCast: March 30

Focus Scripture:

  • Matthew 5:23-26

    Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

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One thought on “Relationship Matters

  1. Greg says:

    As I was reflecting on the passage itself I was struck by the fact that, in a culture which made the temple and the altar the centre of public worship as defining features of the nation being ‘called out’ , Jesus emphasizes the nature of the relationships humans were designed for have rather than the ritual observances. I wonder how the ‘religious types’ who heard him would have reacted to the idea that, as important as the temple and the altar were, they paled in comparison to living as He designed. I have a hunch they would have heard a devaluing of the earthly temple, and the altar and Jerusalem as foci for living well. I imagine that this teaching, apart from raising the standard, would have angered them on a couple of levels.

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