Go Ahead, Rock the Boat

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Go Ahead, Rock the Boat

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Have you ever been in a conversation with someone when he or she suddenly started to confide in you? Perhaps the person tells you about a conflict with another person or maybe several people. Or maybe the person who offended him or her wasn’t even aware anything had happened, but the person speaking with you is quite upset. Usually, the person being spoken of negatively is a person you both know, and the conversation quickly descends into accusations and gossip. This unfortunately occurs all too often between friends and coworkers.

We have all done this or been the victim of it. We may want to believe we are never involved in such negative talk, but if we really think about it, we have been.

We may have a friend who one day comes to us with a story of how he or she was somehow hurt by someone else’s words or deeds, and in our response we may even add our own personal story of what the same person has done to us in the past. Maybe we just say nothing and nod in agreement. Or maybe we become defensive for the other person, disagreeing and saying it couldn’t be so, while making excuses for the offender.

Some of us may just take all the complaints and accusations in and then, as we mull things over, we begin to create our own negative opinions about the person or the group in question—thoughts that may not have been there at all had our friend not brought them up in the first place.

But what if we have done the right thing and suggested the person with the complaint try to rectify the situation? Too often the response is that he or she doesn’t want to cause any problems between him or herself and the other person. He or she doesn’t want to be the one to “rock the boat.”

Go before God

This type of situation happens every day in the workplace, in families and often in the Church, where we most worry about offending someone. At church, we especially want to avoid rocking the boat, but does this really keep the situation stable? Is it always what is best for all involved?

If you cannot give up your anger and your hurt, then you have not let things go.

No, it is not in most cases the best thing to do. While it is often good to let something go, when you feel the need to run to someone to complain or criticize another, have you really let it go, or are you hanging on to your hurt and looking for an ally? If you cannot give up your anger and your hurt, then you have not let things go, and you are not solving the problem. In fact, you are allowing the problem to overtake you, creating a whole new problem, by creating bitterness within yourself and perhaps others.

In Matthew 5:23-24 Matthew 5:23-24 [23] Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has ought against you; [24] Leave there your gift before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
American King James Version×
it says we should be reconciled to our brother before we come before God with our offerings. This shows how important it is to God that we be connected to those we are to love, our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Psalms 50:20 Psalms 50:20You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother's son.
American King James Version×
warns about speaking against a brother. In Zechariah 7:10 Zechariah 7:10And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.
American King James Version×
, we are told to “let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart” (King James Version). God does not want any hostility among His people. He wants us to work out our differences together, not drag in the whole congregation with gossip and innuendo.

Reconciliation process

Matthew 18:15 Matthew 18:15Moreover if your brother shall trespass against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone: if he shall hear you, you have gained your brother.
American King James Version×
tells us to go to our brother and tell him his fault privately. Then, verse 16 says, if that does not work, we should bring a couple of witnesses to hear out the thing. This doesn’t mean talking behind the person’s back, but bringing them to listen and witness what the dispute is about, hearing both sides of it.

If you still cannot mend the breach, then you should take it to the church, to the ministry with your witnesses, if need be. It seems to me, though, if it goes this far, there must truly be a problem in the Christian attitude of either you or the other person or both. No Christian should take on such a hostile heart that he or she is unwilling to forgive or to be forgiven. It may be difficult, but it can be done. There may be some tears, some angry words or even some conflict at first, but in most cases that will pass and things can be worked out.

So you see, God set up a process. If we go to others outside of the situation to complain, have we not already passed judgment on the other person? We must first go to the person or persons causing the offense and try to work it out. If we go to others first, we risk offending not only the person we are speaking of, but the person we are speaking to as well. Maybe you have been in the situation where you have heard someone speak poorly about others and then later wondered what he or she might be saying about you behind your back.

While it is human nature to share our bad experiences with others, if we become the ones who always seem to be doing it, we will be the ones not trusted by others. The strong bonds needed for friendship and brotherly love will never be built between us. At that point, we become the offender and the one in need of forgiveness.

While it is human nature to share our bad experiences with others, if we become the ones who always seem to be doing it, we will be the ones not trusted by others.

In Matthew 18:20 Matthew 18:20For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the middle of them.
American King James Version×
we are told, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” How can two believers come together to work out their problems and not be able to do so? If we come together in the name of God, with prayer and the right attitude, God will be there with us. How then can we fail? When we do these things, we can walk away with an even stronger relationship than before.

Don’t let bitterness build within you, and do not let it spill out onto others. Sometimes, you just have to face your offender and deal with a problem head on. Sometimes you just have to rock the boat. Remember what it says in Ephesians 4:1-2 Ephesians 4:1-2 [1] I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation with which you are called, [2] With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love;
American King James Version×
, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with long-suffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”