Through the Valley series logo

Matthew 18:20(CEB)

20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.”


Happy Pi Day! Take someone out for pie in the name of Jesus!

Our scripture is a very well-known verse – we site it frequently for any variety of occasions, and it is the theme of a wedding song from 1969 that is called “There is Love”. I want to look at it in a different kind of light today as it relates to the verses before it. The title of verses 15-20 is “sinning brother or sister”. These verses deal with another Christian who does something against us. Verse 15 states we should go to that person and address the issue. If that clears it up, then we are good to go and should drop it. If that was not successful, then we should take a friend or two to bear witness and to help work through the issue. But if that doesn’t work, verse 17 says we should take the matter to the whole church.

Now we know that God is always with us, but I think this reading points out to us that God wants us to work out our differences. God will be there to help us mediate those differences, and we should bring in others to help us make peace if we have been wronged or for that matter if we have wronged others. God doesn’t want us to stew about things. God wants us to deal with them. Are you a person who stews about things? Do you debate within your head about what was said/not said/how it was said? I can tend to do this, but I also generally like to address things and get them out in the open and over with, but that can certainly clash with those who do not like to deal with issues or discuss issues. People don’t like conflict. I get that and sometimes it really isn’t worth the effort, so the grievance has to be let go, but that is just it- if that is the decision, then it needs to be let go. If it is something that needs to be addressed, then we need to do that – within our homes, places of work or school, or church. We should do it in a timely manner and should be brief and explain how we feel. Those “I feel” statements are very good, and exactly what Joe and Kate spoke of in their devotion on Tuesday. Sometimes we do need “backup”- not to be on our side necessarily, but to listen and maybe help to tone down the interaction. This is very practical advice and frequently that is what the Bible gives us if we let it. We all have things that we have done to others or others have done to us. We should try to find some closure for ourselves, and I think writing letters is a very good way to do it. Pastor Hendrickson spoke of writing letters to our local and national officials about things we find are wrong in our communities, and I frequently have good intentions, but don’t follow through. I need to push myself in that direction. I also feel that writing letters is good for personal issues. Whether we send the letter or not is another story, but just writing it out on a page sometimes helps with an issue we may be struggling with that we did to someone, or they did to us. Sometimes a letter can give us a separation so that we are not so emotional. However we decide to deal with these hurtful things, we know that God will be there with us to help us through it. Isn’t it comforting to know that God goes with us and is in the midst of all of our relationships?

For Pondering & Prayer


What relationships/grievances would you like God to help you with today? What friend do you have that you can ask to listen/help you work through the next step in dealing with whatever it is you want to get out and get rid of/cleared up?

Prayer: Dear God, we know that you come among us in many ways and that you want us to share every part of our lives with you. Help us to be open to your help and to welcome you into every gathering we may be part of. Amen.