52 SUNDAYS: What If I Have A Conflict With Someone?
This year we're challenging our members and regular attenders to attend a church service every week in 2014. You can read more about the 52 SUNDAYS challenge here. This article is part of a series of articles about 52 SUNDAYS.
What if I have a conflict with someone?
Ever hear the joke about the guy stranded on a desert island?
"He spent years alone on the island before they finally found him. And upon coming ashore, his rescuers were invited on a tour. The man wanted to show them around. So he took them to his hut and said "This is the home I built with my own 2 hands." Then he showed them to another building and he said "This is the church I built with my own 2 hands." Then someone in the group said "Hey, what's that building over there?" And the man replied "That's where I used to go to church.""
We're not afraid of conflict.
The church is on a mission to restore broken relationships. It's the power of the gospel...we are made right with God and each other (Titus 3:1-11, Ephesians 2:11-22). If there is any place where conflicts have any hope of being resolved, surely it's in the church!
Yet this doesn't mean every conflict ends with an exchange of a BFF necklace. Sometimes the offenses are forgiven and differences of opinion are left unresolved. Sometimes previously close friends agree to forgive one another but move on. Things are never the same. The consequences of the conflict to painful, even after reconciliation. Still we have hope for forgiveness and healing.
Don't run away.
I know it's easier to stay home and that occasionally the wisest thing to do is part ways and find a new church. But don't just run away. Ask for help. Attempt to overlook, pursue peace, and forgive even when the other party isn't playing nice. If Jesus can be patient with us, we can be patient with each other. This is the counsel of the Scriptures.
We really do live in odd times, where Christians can simply decide to move on to the next church and hit restart. Or as Carl Trueman has said, "the church has never really come to terms with the invention of the internal combustion engine." So think about it...what would you do differently if there were no other church options?
The Kiss of Peace.
Before you decide to stay at home because so-and-so is going to be at church, read Moving from the “Holy Howdy” to the “Kiss of Peace”. We won't be doing the kissing thing, but take a moment to consider how good God has been to the church. Even the first century. Your conflicts might not be as irreconcilable as you imagine.