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Message Notes

Rebuilding: Dealing with Conflict

Pastor Bill West
June 27, 2021

Listen to the Concerns
Now the men and their wives raised a great outcry against their Jewish brothers. Some were saying, “We and our sons and daughters are numerous; in order for us to eat and stay alive, we must get grain.” Others were saying, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our homes to get grain during the famine.” Still others were saying, “We have had to borrow money to pay the king’s tax on our fields and vineyards. Although we are of the same flesh and blood as our countrymen and though our sons are as good as theirs, yet we have to subject our sons and daughters to slavery. Some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but we are powerless, because our fields and our vineyards belong to others.”
Nehemiah 5:1–5

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your selfish desires that battle within you?
James 4:1

We Expect Opposition from Our Enemies Not Oppression by Our Families.
Reflect on What Needs to Be Done
When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry. I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. I told them, “You are exacting usury from your own countrymen!” So I called together a large meeting to deal with them
Nehemiah 5:6–7

A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back.
Proverbs 29:11

Do not charge your brother interest, whether on money or food or anything else that may earn interest.
Deuteronomy 23:19

Address it with Wisdom
1. Separate People from the Problem
I said: “As far as possible, we have bought back our Jewish brothers who were sold to the Gentiles. Now you are selling your brothers, only for them to be sold back to us!” They kept quiet because they could find nothing to say.
Nehemiah 5:8

2. Focus on the Broader Perspective
So, I continued, “What you are doing is not right. Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies?”
Nehemiah 5:9

3. Look for Solutions that Benefit Everyone
I and my brothers and my men are also lending the people money and grain. But let the exacting of usury stop! Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the usury you are charging them—the hundredth part of the money, grain, new wine and oil.” “We will give it back,” they said. “And we will not demand anything more from them. We will do as you say.” Then I summoned the priests and made the nobles and officials take an oath to do what they had promised.
Nehemiah 5:10–12

4. Biblically Based
I also shook out the folds of my robe and said, “In this way may God shake out of his house and possessions every man who does not keep this promise. So may such a man be shaken out and emptied!” At this the whole assembly said, “Amen,” and praised the Lord. And the people did as they had promised.
Nehemiah 5:13

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:17–18

Bottom Line: Selfishness Divides Humility Unites

Small Groups Talk About It

Watch the Message Summary:

  1. In what ways do we experience injustice and oppression?
  2. How would you describe the way that you normally deal with conflict? Share a time when you dealt with conflict well and when you did not.
  3. Read Nehemiah 5:1-5: What was the big issue causing conflict among the Jews? What was so horrible about what was happening? Have you ever been exploited by someone who should have helped you?  Describe what that was like.
  4. Read Nehemiah 5:6-7: Why do you think Nehemiah became so angry? What did he do about the anger? Do you agree with the way he called out those who were responsible?
  5. Have you ever tried to speak to those who were responsible for creating injustices for others?  What was the result?  What did you learn?
  6. Read Nehemiah 5:8-9: What was the big problem with the way people were being treated?  What is the bigger perspective for Christians when we mistreat people?
  7. Read Nehemiah 5:10-13: What was the solution Nehemiah suggested? What can we learn for his approach here? What sacrifices did they make?
  8. As Christ followers, what can we learn about how to deal with conflict from Nehemiah? Is there any conflict you need to try to address this week? Are there any sacrifices you are willing to make to deal with conflict?
  9. Respond to this statement:  Selfishness Divides Humility Unites.
  10. Pray for each other.