Perhaps you’re a part of a congregation being torn apart by conflict. There are accusations and counter accusations. Bitterness fills the air. Guests who visit the church, quickly sense the atmosphere of conflict, and then leave. No one is coming to Christ and experiencing salvation. Young people and children are caught in the middle. Genuine disciple-making is at a standstill. It seems like it’s every person for themselves… I could go on…
What to do in a situation like that?!!
Well, I read a wonderful passage this morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord” that provides some wonderful “apostolic help”!!! The Apostle Paul wrote these words to some churches that were being torn apart by conflict… (read the context carefully and you’ll see his emphasis on unity! 🙂 Here’s his advice…
“I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received! Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace…” (Ephesians 4.1-3)
Then he goes on in the verses that follow… If I might paraphrase… “Recognize, affirm and focus on what you have in common (rather than the things that divide you) – vss. 4-6! Then he encourages each of their gifted leaders to use their gifts “so that the body of Christ might be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (i.e. more and more like Jesus – personally and collectively). (Verses 11-16).
Wow!! What incredible apostolic pastoral advice!!
Listen!! I don’t know if conflict characterizes the congregation you’re a part of, but you can make a difference there! You can be an agent God uses in your congregation to help bring reconciliation, healing and spiritual health. The Lord wants every congregation to be “the Body of Christ” in their community … to be His hands, His feet, His voice, His healing presence that community, representing Him without distortion in the power of the Holy Spirit!