Mercy Street Church of Christ
Abilene, TX
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Tell my brother to share the inheritance with me

Tell my brother to share the inheritance with me. (Luke 12:13)

Every parent of more than one child has heard pleas like this one. “Tell him to stop teasing me.” “Make her share that toy.” Many parents know better than to step into the middle of a conflict like this. Instead, they might ask a few questions to help the child to think or examine his motives. They help the child find ways to handle the conflict without their direct intervention. They help build his confidence so that he can find a better way to resolve conflict than complaining.

This is not so different from what Jesus does in Luke 12. Instead of involving himself in a financial dispute between two brothers, Jesus exposes the greed that lurks behind the demand. The parable that he tells in response raises a more important question than the division of goods. What riches really matter in the long run—the contents of the man’s bank account or his relationship with his brother?

For Jesus, the man’s motives matter more than the outcome of his dispute. It wasn’t Jesus’ role to make the problem disappear; he wanted to teach the man how to work through it himself according to God’s ways. The solution he offered was meant to go deeper and have more permanent effects than settling this one argument. Essentially, he was teaching this man how to love his brother.

God wants to do the same for us. He wants to show us how to resolve conflicts by examining the motives and values in our own hearts. So if you’re having a hard time with someone, come to Jesus before you approach the other person. Let Jesus shine his light on your heart so that you can see what lies under the surface. Let him offer you his compassion and understanding toward the other person. Let him assure you that you are capable of working things out together as long as you respect each other and leave room for the Holy Spirit to help.

The work of mending relationships starts with each one of us. And Jesus will be right there to help us through it.

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