Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Value of Conflict in the Body of Christ

Jesus said, "I am the way, truth and life..." And, "love your neighbor as yourself..." (John 14:6 and part of Luke 10:27).

Somewhere along the bumpy road, I think believers have gotten mixed up concerning delivering the truth to one another and withholding truth.

I have heard it said being nice to one another, letting everyone win, telling a white lie to make someone feel better; these are all good Christian things.

I have come to disagree. In many ways groups or churches fall apart because no one communicates the truth; either because of fear of conflict or they don't think it's their place.

A basic team building models says conflict is vital in building a team. Consider our church bodies as a team and think of your most recent conflict. Conflict grows a team because a problem is faced and typically some understanding or compromise is reached. Both parties grow from the conflict, therefore helping the kingdom of God.

Running away and avoiding is the most common way to deal with conflict. Others become personally offended, some could care less, some may never return to the church or some may go somewhere else. This is how many of us deal with conflict. Conflict is not comfortable, but I have grown to learn it is necessary in growing toward the Lord alongside other believers.

When you and I as believers live this lie and ultimately avoid conflict, we are doing the body of Christ a disservice.

I am reminded of Paul and John Mark's conflict (of sorts). For whatever reason, Paul did not want to take John Mark. Paul went to John Mark and told him and than went on his mission to carry out his calling. Later in Paul's ministry, we learn that John Mark joins him later.

"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For the body does not consist of one member but of many." 1 Corinthians 12:12 & 14

God created the church of humans, all created in His image. If that's the case, we each reflect many characteristics of God in our body. Hence the significance of the passage describing you and I as different parts of the body. God intended many different people of: race, ethnicity, shape, size, personality, etc. because each of these are unique to Him and to those whom He allows you and I to reflect Christ to within our sphere of influence.

The one common denominator each of us need to remember is our shared oneness in Christ (John 17:23). As believers, our opinions, arguments or conflicts should not cloud our shared belief and love for Jesus.

Pray. Examine if it's the Lord or just you. Approach in love. Deliver the message. Don't avoid the truth. Continue to love unconditionally. Don't expect anything, but pray for mutual understand and resolve. Focus on Christ goals and nothing else.


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