Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 18:15; reconciling with Christians; grievances with Christians;’

“Use your words.”

Several times every week, as I walk through our house that has been turned into a preschool, I hear my wife’s voice, directed toward warring children:

“Use your words.”

One child is playing with a toy … but another child takes it away.  The child who originally had the toy hits the child who took it.  My wife tells them:

“Use your words.”

My wife doesn’t like it when the kids tattle on one another.  If she doesn’t witness an incident, she’s not always sure exactly what happened.  She wants the kids to learn how to resolve matters themselves, so she’ll tell the tattler:

“Use your words.”

There are times when I’ve watched the kids play, and one child will start screaming.  Because we don’t know why she’s upset, my wife will tell the drama queen:

Use your words.”

She even has a special green table, and when two kids aren’t getting along, she sits them down to work things out and gets things rolling by saying:

“Use your words.”

She wants the children to speak to each other directly … immediately … and calmly.  When they do that, she says matters are resolved every single time.

Jesus said something similar:

“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.”

What is Jesus saying?

“Use your words.”

When another Christian takes your toy … or you’re tempted to tattle to the pastor on them … or you feel like screaming at them … go the green table and:

“Use your words.”

Talk to the person who hurt you directly … just between the two of you … rather than involving others.

Talk to them immediately … rather than avoiding them for a long time … which only makes matters worse.

Talk to them calmly … rather than escalating matters … because a quiet tone defuses anxiety.

Jesus says, “Don’t yell at them.  Don’t sock them.  Don’t throw something at them.”  Instead:

Use your words.”

When churches are in conflict … when pastors and staff members don’t get along … when the church board is upset with the pastor … Jesus says:

“Use your words.”

Sometimes, Christians do use words, but they speak harshly … rashly … deceptively … fearfully.  When you’re on the receiving end of such words … and we all are at times … Jesus tells us to express ourselves this way:

“Use your words.”

I read an article yesterday about Frank White, the great second baseman for the Kansas City Royals in the 1970s and 1980s.

Nine years ago, White was managing for the Royals in the minor leagues, and a vacancy opened up for the team’s major league managerial position.

Frank White really wanted that job.

The team offered it to somebody else, and it bothered Frank White … a lot.

The same thing happened three years later.

The team eventually asked him to be a color commentator on team broadcasts, which he did for several years.  He also did community service for them.

Then they reduced his community service salary by 2/3 … and fired him from the broadcast booth the following year.

After all Frank White had meant to the Royals, it hurt.

The Royals and Frank White have been estranged ever since.  He wrote in his recent autobiography, “You’ll never see me in that stadium again.”

But with the Royals going undefeated in the playoffs, and playing in their first World Series in 29 years this evening (against my Giants), White has been back to Kauffman Stadium three times recently.

In fact, the team invited him onto the field to join other members of the Royals Hall of Fame before Game 3 of the Championship Series … but White declined.

It’s one thing to visit the stadium as a fan … and another thing to stand on the field as a valued former player.

Frank White has taken a step toward reconciliation by visiting the stadium.  The team took a step forward by inviting him onto the field.

Personally, I think the team has to make the next move.  They were the ones who reduced his salary and then pushed him out.  They need to offer more than just standing on the field with others.

But if there’s going to be a solution to the estrangement between White and the Royals, it’s the same solution that Jesus recommended to estranged disciples twenty centuries ago:

“Use your words.”

If three-year-olds can go to the green table and work things out with their words, why can’t pastors, staff members, and church boards do the same?






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