I am a sucker for a good quote. Whether it be George Washington or Yogi Berra, I enjoy a well-timed phrase that provides an elementary response to a seemingly complex conundrum.
For instance, if someone says, “if you think you can or think you can’t, you are probably right”, he or she is simply trying to tell you that you can accomplish the task if you want to put forth the effort. Block out the white noise and decide if you are willing to do the work required.
A political party will signal their candidate’s ascension to the White House as evidence of overwhelming support for their party’s policies. Maybe even covet a little moral high ground along the way. Of course, close to 40-50% of eligible voters over the past 20 years did not vote in Presidential elections. “Overwhelming support” quickly dissipates if you look at the historic mid-term election results that change the balance of power routinely. But, don’t believe me, because “liars figure and figures lie.”
Where my enjoyment of quotes turns to queasiness is with Biblical verses. Don’t get me wrong, there is value in memorizing Scripture. The act of memorizing the Word shows reverence and thanksgiving for a living text that helps guide our actions alongside our battle buddy the Holy Spirit.
But, memorizing does not provide wisdom. Here is the one that gets the hair on the back of my neck to stand up, Matt 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.”
Sounds great. In this verse, the “I” is Jesus so it is pretty awesome to think that wherever there are two Christians sitting around that Jesus is with them, right? Pretty kumbaya stuff.
Except there is only one problem, this verse is about conflict resolution period.
Jesus knows holding others accountable is difficult. That is why this entire section in Matthew is devoted to the teacher (Jesus) instructing his students (the Disciples) on how to deal with conflict.
Take a look at the full passage, Matt 18:15-20. Jesus instructs us to go to an individual one-on-one and then in a small group to help the wayward believer. If those two methods fail, the church is made aware so that the person has one more chance to change their behavior. How awesome is this? Jesus knows we generally do not like conflict so he gave us a plan and it got written down in the instruction book.
But you would not know the meaning of Matt 18:20 if you did not read the book. Answers are hidden in books.
I hope you enjoyed this blog. If not, “you got what you paid for.”
Build your house on the Rock.
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