Matthew 18:15-20 (The Message)15 "If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you've made a friend. 16 If he won't listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. 17 If he still won't listen, tell the church. If he won't listen to the church, you'll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God's forgiving love.18 "Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. 19 When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. 20 And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I'll be there."
There's no conflict in church, just like there’s no crying in baseball!!!
Well, I have lots of patients - most, actually - who aren't Christians, or who disavow themselves of any denomination or set of beliefs. Lots of "former Roman Catholics". Or, "Well, I was baptized in a non denominational evangelical church and I love the Lord, but I don't go to any church."
And, why is that so? Mostly they've left the church because - you guessed it - conflict.
What I hear myself say for those who are Christians, and for those who request them, is that I administer the sacraments, I anoint dying persons and hold prayer vigils at their bedside with family members.
I smiled and said, ‘You know, I learned long ago never to make promises I know I can’t keep. So, why don’t you tell me what you need to tell me and I’ll let you know if I can promise it.”
After she composed herself, she said to me, "Do you think he heard me?"
"Well," I said, "we'll never know for certain, but I just love the thought that the last thing he heard before he left this earth was your voice saying, 'I love you. I forgive you.' And, the first thing he heard when he got into heaven was the voice of Jesus saying, 'I love you. I forgive you.'".
"I love that, too," she said, as she squeezed my hand and dried her tears.
Because Jesus understands our humanity, and understands that there will always be conflict among us, he offers us a way to find forgiveness and reconciliation.
Or: “A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal.”
All we get is this one life, here on this earth, before we complete our earthly pilgrimage and return to the One who loved us into being, loves us unto death, and will love us for eternity.