I summarized the passage and closed with applications this way:
Believers must reject the ridiculous and audacious folly of resolving their disputes in secular courts of law – given the special destiny of judging for believers (the world and angels), the serious disconnect with adjudicating by unbelievers (they have no standing in the church), and given the shameful defeat of litigating against family (why not rather suffer wrong, be defrauded than to wrong and defraud your brothers). Let me close with five practical steps of application.
1. If you haven’t done so already, read Ken Sande’s The Peacemaker, especially if you are in a conflict and/or if you are a member of OGC. Maybe even read it again. We place a high value on fostering a culture of peace. Nothing will equip you better.
2. Consider joining the reconciling team at OGC. Matthew Antolick, himself trained by Peacemaker Ministries in conflict mediation is heading up this ministry to help serve our body in resolving disputes so that we have godly recourse when disputes come. See him for more info about what’s involved and how you can be trained.
3. Inventory your heart in a conflict. If you can’t overlook an offense, follow the pattern of restoration clearly set down by Jesus in Matt. 18. Be willing for wise, objective and godly people to speak into your life along the way when they see something potentially out of order.
4. Become a church member if you aren’t already. Conflict resolution through godly mediation and arbitration and church discipline is one of the privileges and responsibilities that membership affords. Think about it. There is nothing for you or your opponent to be put out of if necessary, if you aren’t already those who have voluntarily put yourselves in it.
5. Trust God and the gospel of grace and forgiveness to rule your relationships within the body of Christ. Behavior that chooses to suffer wrong, defrauding as opposed to coercing rights, doesn’t come naturally to the sinful flesh. That takes the fruit of the Spirit controlling the heart through the power of the gospel.
Praise God for His faithfulness to us over these last years in preserving the peace within our fellowship!