Arguments, Frustrations, and Differences
Handling conflict between fellow believers
The Major Problem
Ok, so writing this; first off I must say, this isn't intended to be finger pointing, or directed at any one individual or person, but is highlighting a major problem in Churches all across the Church. Conflict! there I said it... whether arguments, frustrations, or differences between fellow believers in a church, or across the street at home, or at work. We are all vulnerable to conflict with other people, because... well, were all people. As people, or human beings, we are prone majorly to error, so it is only natural that we wont always get along with everyone we come across in our lifetimes. In fact, if we are being honest with each other we could name at least one person in our church family that we don't like, that we differ from, are frustrated with, or have even argued with...
Getting along with people isn't supposed to be pain free, "Doing Life" as we try and promote at Valley Christian Church, isn't supposed to be easy, but it is supposed to happen non-the-less. There is a biblical mandate for unity within the Bride of Christ, I mean Jesus prayed for it; "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word. that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that they world may believe that you have sent me." And it goes on and on for a while, that comes out of John 17:20 - 21 it additionally continues, "The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me." Now those were some pretty specific words that our Savior and Messiah prayed to his Father in Heaven... and they are important, that prayer is known as one of the greatest prayers through-out scripture, because it highlights one of Jesus desires for his bride, "The Church."
So if Jesus desired unity in the church, then why is there so much turmoil in the church? Why do we as fellow Christian's deal harshly with our own kind? Simply because we aren't perfect, we screw things up all the time, which is why God gives grace, because God in all of his knowledge, knew that we wouldn't get it write all of the time, so he gave us his Word in Jesus Christ to show us how to get along through conflict, how to forgive and give grace to each other...
Ok, so where are these "Instructions"...It is a true statement that Jesus spoke many commands or instructions through-out the gospel, in one specific location though Jesus instructed his disciples and subsequently all believers how to handle differences between believers, most bibles probably title this little section, "If Your Brother Sins against You" and it comes from Matthew 18:15 - 17, It reads this way, "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone..." Let me stop right there for a second, how many of us read these words and cringe? (I'm raising my hand) Most don't desire confrontation with each other, but Jesus clearly instructed his disciples to confront him/her in their fault in private... this aids in one big area... GOSSIP! When you feel as you have been wronged it is required of believers to take our grievance to the person responsible and settle it privately, not publicly... Let's continue; "If he listened to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the Church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."
So what we should understand from this passage of scripture... Seek to Resolve matters of grievance in private. Additionally that when we fell that someone has wronged us, or sinned against us, don't please don't go and talk to other people about it, your last resort should be making that wrong that they committed against you public. We must strive to live godly lives, and continue to operate in the Grace of Jesus Christ, and be willing to give this grace to those who persecute you.... which I believe is scriptural...
Additionally, and even harder is the concept that when someone has committed a grievance against you, you must also forgive them... Now while you could argue against me, it's much harder to argue against scripture, so turn if you will over to 2nd Corinthians 2:5 - 8, "Now if anyone has caused pain, he cause caused it not to me, but in some measure not to put it too severely - to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So i beg you to reaffirm your love for him."
You see, Paul wrote these words because some had caused him great pain... The Corinthian church had taken care of the problem, the excommunicated (removed) that person from their membership, but after that Paul called for forgiveness and more importantly full reconciliation... This shows us that we must forgive and more forward when people "wrong" us... I'm not claiming that it is easy, and it isn't supposed to be, but as followers of Christ we are required to forgive, to seek reconciliation with our fellow believers, meaning those people that you don't always see eye to eye with, those whom you've been talking about behind their backs, those whom have said things about you.
Ok, so in the end, we as Christian's must remember that "If Christ was able to forgive you, than you need to forgive others." pretty simple really, we have been tasked with being in Unity, forgiving those who trespass against us, And finally, Seeking full reconciliation... When we do these things as Christ instructed us to do we are living in harmony with God and our fellow believers
So, I know that this blog might have been heavy for some of you readers, it was for me too, it caused me to reflect on my relationship's with people... My prayer for us as believers is that we aren't to quick to become angry when someone has wronged us, that when someone has done so, that we take that grievance to them directly and quickly (Pray first!). so that reconciliation can be made.
God bless you guys, and thanks for checking out The Pudgy Pastor!