Conflict is a reality of life, and as teenagers, you may encounter various conflicts in your daily lives. As followers of Christ, it is essential for us to learn how to handle conflicts in a way that honors God and promotes unity within our relationships. In Matthew 18:15-20, Jesus provides us with practical guidance on how to resolve conflicts within the church community. This passage is not only relevant to adults but also holds great importance for teenagers in their journey of faith.
Bible Reading 1: Matthew 18:15-17 (NIV)
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they 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 they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
- Conflict Resolution: Jesus teaches us that when we encounter a conflict with someone, our first step should be to address the issue privately. This approach allows for open and honest communication without unnecessary public exposure.
- The Power of Reconciliation: Jesus emphasizes the importance of seeking reconciliation and winning back the person who has sinned against us. It demonstrates our commitment to love, forgiveness, and restoration within the body of Christ.
- Seeking Support and Accountability: If the initial attempt at resolution fails, Jesus advises involving one or two trusted individuals as witnesses. Their presence can bring objectivity and facilitate a peaceful resolution.
- The Role of the Church: If all attempts fail, Jesus encourages taking the matter to the church, seeking wisdom and guidance from the larger body of believers. The church’s involvement aims to restore both parties and maintain unity within the community.
- Why do you think Jesus emphasized addressing conflicts privately before involving others?
- How might seeking reconciliation impact our witness as followers of Christ?
- In your experience, when have you found it helpful to involve a trusted person to mediate during a conflict?
- What are some potential challenges in taking a conflict to the church community? How can we overcome them?
Bible Reading 2: Matthew 18:18-20 (NIV)
“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
- Authority in Agreement: Jesus grants authority to His followers to make decisions and take actions that align with God’s will. This authority is not to be taken lightly but should be exercised with wisdom and discernment.
- The Power of Unified Prayer: Jesus highlights the power of collective prayer by promising that when two or three gather in His name, He is present with them. This emphasizes the importance of seeking God’s guidance and support when dealing with conflicts.
- The Role of the Church Community: Jesus assures us that the church community holds great significance in resolving conflicts and seeking God’s wisdom together. Our unity and agreement in prayer can bring about powerful results.
- How does the promise of God’s presence impact the way we approach conflicts within the church community?
- Why is unity in prayer important when seeking resolution and guidance?
- Can you share an example of a time when you witnessed the power of collective prayer in resolving a conflict or seeking God’s guidance?
- How can we encourage and support one another in our journey of faith, especially when facing conflicts?
Youth Group Game: “Bridge the Conflict”
Divide the group into pairs. Provide each pair with building blocks or materials to create a bridge. Instruct them that one person represents a conflict situation, and the other person represents a mediator. The goal is to build a strong and stable bridge together, symbolizing the resolution of the conflict. Encourage communication, teamwork, and creative problem-solving. After the game, discuss how their experience relates to handling conflicts in real life.
Thank you for teaching us how to handle conflicts in a way that honors You and promotes unity within our relationships. Help us to be courageous in addressing conflicts privately, seeking reconciliation, and involving others when necessary. Guide us as a church community to be peacemakers and to rely on the power of prayer to bridge any divides. May Your presence always be with us as we navigate through the challenges of life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.