Sort it out!
Acts 18:15 “But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law – settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things.”
I can still hear my mother shout at my brother and I, “Sort it out yourselves.” It was music to my ears because we had one way of doing that and it was to go upstairs on my bed and box it out. My brother always held back a little as from an early age I have worn glasses and he knew he would be in trouble if they broke. I capitalised on this. He would often ask me to take them off but I wasn’t stupid.
I no longer sort things out that way but I often look back and smile at the fun times we had.
One of the difficult tasks as Missions Director is receiving the cries of help to intervene between 2 opposing sides. I have had quite a few. It still surprises me how the Church manages so easily and so often to fall out with itself. The difficulty comes because like Gallio I do not know “words and names and your own law.” I do not know their language, the history of the names being mentioned and their cultural practice and known behaviour. I am always tempted to say, ‘sort it out yourself, don’t involve me.’
Maybe today you wake up and there are unresolved issues and disagreements.
Needless separation can happen because it isn’t sorted out.
The real problem is when the opposing sides are so offended that they want to sort each other out and not the matter. In fact the matter not only lies unresolved it becomes forgotten under a barrage of abuse, hurt and bitterness.
Welcome to the Church.
The Jews wanted rid of Paul, that’s how they wanted the matter settled. There would be no uniting.
To sort it out means:
- There has to be understanding of the other position.
- Identifying what is the real issue amidst many little unimportant issues.
- Judgment and punishment is not the goal.
- There has to be gracious giving.
- Often there has to be a win-win situation so that both parties feel heard and appreciated.
Maybe today those 5 points will help you sort it out once and for all.