Last Father’s Day, Jenn bought me a gift that neither of us knew I would love as much as I do. She bought me a coffee roaster. Well, actually, it’s a stove top popcorn popper with a thermometer in the lid.

I. Love. It.

I buy green coffee beans that ship straight to my house, then every week or two, I roast a batch of coffee or espresso to my liking. I order the beans I want and roast them the way I want for a fraction of the cost of buying them pre-roasted from a cafe.

How? I cut out the middleman.

I prefer to cut out the middleman with my coffee, but Jesus commands that we cut out the middleman when it comes to conflict. Here’s how Jesus puts it:

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.”

— Matthew 18:15 —

Look again at who should be in the conversation: “you and him alone.” Do you see what Jesus did there? He cut out the middleman. When you have an issue with someone, you should go to that person to work it out. Don’t take it to another friend, social media, or even your pastor (yet). Go to that person. This is how Christians work through the inevitable conflict that arises as we live and serve together.

Involving a middleman in the conflict results in collateral damage that could have been prevented. Gossip (taking an issue to someone who isn’t involved or can’t do anything about it) is never productive. We should always have a Matthew 18:15 goal in dealing with conflict: “gain your brother.”

Jesus died to unite us; we should fight to stay united!

K E V I N • M I L L E R

Feel free to  to pass this on to someone who could use some encouragement!

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