By Dr. David Clarke, Ph.D
The Big Idea
The next step in the Matthew 18 process is asking your church leaders to confront your spouse.
Your husband (or wife) has resisted the first two steps of the Matthew 18 process of confronting the sinner. He will not agree to scheduling the four 30 minute Couple Talk Times that are vital to communication. You have asked him directly and he has refused. You have sent one or two godly men who know him well to ask him and he has refused. He is confirming his stubbornness and sinfulness.
The next step is to involve your church leaders. "If he refuses to listen to them(the one or two witnesses), tell it to the church. . ."(Matthew 18:17). Go immediately to your church leaders-it could be your senior pastor, an associate pastor, or one of the elders or deacons at your church. Tell your leader or leaders that your husband is refusing to communicate with you, thereby denying you emotional intimacy. Tell them you are following the Matthew 18 confrontation process and you have come to the church leader step.
Ask your leaders to, as soon as possible, go to your husband and confront him in his sin: lovingly but firmly. Ask them to ask him why he is refusing to set up specific times to talk with you and learn how to communicate on a deeper level. Ask them to tell your husband that his failure to do so is sin and that the lack of communication is killing his marriage. Ask them to tell him that they are willing to do what they can to encourage him in the area of communication and to hold him accountable.
Tell your leaders that if your husband refuses to meet with them in person, they can send him an email or regular letter.
Don't be shocked if your church leaders drop the ball. Many leaders will simply not confront other men. They don't want the conflict and awkwardness. They don't see your communication problem as serious enough to warrant confrontation. They may blame you for the marriage problems.
Before God, all you can do is obey Scripture and ask your leaders to confront your husband. That fulfills your obligation. But, you may need to find another church, one where the leaders take the Bible seriously and follow Matthew 18:15-17.
Next week, the next step in the Matthew 18 process