Maria is a really good dancer. Me? Not so much. In fact, I am intimidated by her natural ability to move in perfect time with the music. I can't even clap my hands on beats two and four without serious concentration. Dancing is a good metaphor for the marriage relationship because both parties play a role and when it is done well, it is a thing of beauty. On the other hand, when one party "steps on the other's toes" things can get ugly. The same is true in the relationships found in families, teams, businesses and churches. Check out Jesus' advice to the disciples about improving their "relational dancing."
Jesus said to his disciples: "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that 'every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matthew 18:15-20
Jesus clearly lays out a process for the church community and its members as to how to handle sinful behavior. These are deliberate steps designed to win the sinner over. Jesus has emphasized the power that the members of the church have in dealing with sin. He then explains the power of prayer as it pertains to those same members. Most importantly, Jesus reminds the disciples that He will always be present with them as they gather together in His name.
Now for the dance metaphor:
- The Dance is the relationship
- The Sin is the misplaced step onto another's toes
- The one-on-one Conversation with the "sinner" is the explanation of the misplaced step including the pain it caused and the need for a correction
- The one or two Others are other dancers who reinforce the need for correction
- The Church is the dance troupe who after further reinforcement for the need for correction decide whether or not the offending dancer is allowed to continue dancing
Now let's look at the gathering together in Jesus' name. In our metaphor, Jesus is The Dance Instructor. He has provided the painted steps on the wooden floor of the dance studio. By being present with the dancers Jesus provides a way to overcome the painful missteps that sometimes occur during "the dance." He brings the wisdom and grace that allows both parties to correct their mistakes. However, this can't happen if the dancers are not willing to take "dance lessons" from Him. This is especially true in difficult times when the dance has gotten out of step. The Dance Instructor provides the correction that allows the dancers to perform at their best.
It could be a newly married couple in their first dance together as husband and wife. It might be a line dance where everyone is in perfect step moving to the beat of the music. When dancers are willing to follow Jesus' instruction and leadership it can be a beautiful thing. Imagine the impact on couples, families, teams, businesses and churches if everybody took lessons from and danced in the name of The Dance Instructor.