What would you do if you’re a pastor, and a member of your church leaves due to some conflict, either with you or with another church member?
You might pray, talk to them and counsel them.
Now what would you do if you were the pastor to whom the hurt person came, seeking to join your church? What would you do?
Perhaps you would first try to find out why they left?
There are three main aims of the church:
Church is not a junkyard for leaving broken lives to rust away. Rather, it is a repair shop to get people back on the road of their lives.
Church is a place for mending broken lives to build each other up.
A sign of a healthy church is people getting healed in every way, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
The church must send out whole people to bless others, even if it means sending them back to the very place where they were hurt.
Let’s look at these two verses:
Matthew 5:9 — Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
2 Corinthians 5:18 — All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation
Now let’s look at Philemon.
Philemon was a wealthy slave owner. His slave Onesimus ran away and met up with Paul. Paul discipled Onesimus into a strong Christian. One day Paul decided that Onesimus had reached a level of maturity which would allow him to return and reconcile with Pilemon.
This is the kind of boldness we should instill in church members.
Paul must also have known that Philemon would be mature enough to receive Onesimus. It will not be really fruitful to try to reconcile if one member cannot forgive, because then the conflict will happen again.
Philemon, however, was not growing bitter. Instead of looking at the problem, he was focusing on The Problem Solver.