How is it that a church with imperfect and broken people can be a powerful agent of transformation in the world? That is what we see in the New Testament church: broken, imperfect but powerful. In this message we explore the crucial practice of having brave communication that forges unity and produces powerful families on mission.
If you want a study tool to go along with the podcast, see Lift Notes here:
A. Why do we do brave communication?
I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received…3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Eph. 4:1–3
- Family is not found it is forged! Forging authentic unity will require effort, but it will be worth it!
- Unity in the family precedes power in the Spirit. (See Acts 1:14, 2:2,4)
- If we allow division and discord between us in the body of Christ then we are breaking a connection that will bring the power of the Spirit in our midst. The more we are unified, the more we will be a conduit for the Holy Spirit.
- “Whoever desires to love life and see good days…let him seek peace and pursue 1 Peter 3:10–11
B. When is it time to have brave communication with a brother or a sister?
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23–24
- If you have something against your brother or sister or know that they have something against you and it is getting in the way of your worship, then its time for some brave communication. If something is sticking with you and you can’t be at peace when you are with them then you’ve got something to work out.
C. How do we do brave communication?
Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
- Jesus teaches a 3 step process of Brave Communication: rebuke, repent and forgive as a regular part (7 times a day) of family life together so that discord can be overcome and authentic unity can be forged so that the power of the Spirit can flow through in and through us most powerfully to bring his Kingdom.
Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. Eph. 4:15
“The truth may be hard but it doesn’t have to be harsh.” -Dann Farrelly
- A rebuke done correctly is: your (perceived) truth that is spoken in love!
A hugely important phrase to learn how to skillfully use in the context of “rebuking” is:
“Help me understand where you were coming from when _______,
because I feel/felt ________, when _________.”
- “Help me understand” and “I feel” are your two best friends in brave communication.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves [toward one another] with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14
- A Rebuke done in love will have compassion. Compassion is a gut-wrenching feeling of what someone else feels. So in the context of conflict with another person, compassion is where you seek to understand/feel things from their perspective before you draw conclusions or make assumptions.
- A Rebuke done in love will have kindness. In the context of conflict, kindness is that you really want what is best for them. So in your conflict, you want them to win too. You are not out to just prove that you are right!
- A Rebuke done in love will have humility. Humility assumes/expects that “I might be the one off base.” If a word of truth is spoken in humility, it is a word that says “this is my perspective, this is my take, this is how I feel.” A rebuke is my perceived truth, spoken in love.
“Instead of being suspicious of them, be highly suspicious of your imaginary ability to know what someone is thinking and/or their motives.” -Dann Farrelly
- Repent is not a dirty word. It simply means: “To turn or change your thinking.” It actually should be seen as a good thing, knowing that life gets better as you repent and come more into alignment with God’s will (Mark 1:14-15). So when someone brings a rebuke to you, look at it as an opportunity to grow. Repentance should be the lifestyle of those who want more of God!
- When you are on the giving end of a rebuke, come with a humility that expects that God will likely show you just as much stuff that you can repent of as the person on the receiving
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Matthew 7:3
- Remember, even if a rebuke brought to you is completely true and you really messed up or need to grow, it doesn’t define your identity in God’s eyes. Our identity is that we are God’s beloved children. That identity does not come through our performance or other people’s opinions of us but through our faith what Jesus bought for us on the cross. So when a rebuke is brought to us, it doesn’t need to threaten our identity, which is always secure in God’s eyes. A rebuke should be received as an opportunity to line our lives up more with God’s will, so that the goodness of heaven pours out.
- According to Jesus’ parable (Matthew 18:21-35), to forgive is to let go of your right to punish.
As the apostle Paul says, Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:16
- When we forgive, we give the situation/person over to God and entrust that God will take care of them in a just way in His timing. In this act we release ourselves from the burden and bitterness of vengeance. Holding on to unforgiveness is like swallowing poison and hoping someone else gets sick.
- Where do we get the strength to forgive?
Jesus teaches (Matthew 18:21-35) that if you truly experience the life-transforming reality of having your entire un-payable record of debts against God canceled, you will become a forgiving person. So when we need to forgive someone, we should reflect on and soak in God’s forgiveness, mercy and undeserved goodness toward us, and let that fill us up with fresh forgiveness to share.
- Does a willingness to forgive make you a doormat? No!
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault,…if he refuses to listen…let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Excerpt of Matthew 18:15-17
If someone has wronged you and they are not willing to repent, God gives you permission to set an emotional and relational boundary, and they lose the right to have access to vulnerable places in your heart. Forgiveness is always what God wants, but reconciliation is not always possible if a person is unwilling to repent.
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