June, 18 2019
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Relational Conflict and Growth

Jan 14, 2018 at 23:14

 

Friends, One of the constants of being a team is difference or even conflict over how to build, go forward,  handle a difficult situation or a difficult person. 

In a hierarchical system this often becomes an exercise in power- do it my way or you can leave!  Sometimes the reason for expulsion is framed in quasi moral terms such as "rebellious", "not a team player", "independent".  It is amazing that in some groups they will throw out one for questioning the status quo while protecting another guilty of real moral failure like the sexual abuse of a minor so long as they remain "submitted to the leadership".  

This is the ethics of the mafia- loyalty to the group is the highest value.

However,  when Jesus called us friends, He forever destroyed the posibility of any hierarchical system (relationships based upon position/power over others) to represent His Kingdom.  If the King calls us friends, how can we exercise power over one another?  In His Kingdom friends speak the truth to one another in Love.  

But how do you handle differences?  It is interesting that the wisdom book of the Scripture is set up around wise or foolish rather than right or wrong.  Some courses of action are foolish.  Some are wise.  This gets very interesting in cross cultural situations.

We have been confronted with close friends and ministry partners desiring to take courses of action that we considered very foolish.  We have been told by others to simply tell them to do what we think is right or we will not fund them.  Ultimate power trip!  

No.  No power trips.  We are friends.  We talk.  We share honestly that we think that action may be unwise and why.  However, we do not have to live with the results of that decision.  They do.  They have to make the decision

We realize that the Holy Spirit may be asking them to do something that is unwise from our perspective.  We deal with the difference around wise or foolish, not right or wrong and leave the decision with those who have to live it out.

What if the direction really turns out to be unwise with bad fruit?  Well, you are friends so you walk it out together.  You learn. Better to work through some difficulties as friends than violate the place of Jesus in exercising His place over another.  Better to walk as friends than to create slaves.  He is the Head of His body and we are all members one of another.

But you say this is impractical.  No large organization can work this way.  Right but who said the church is to be a large organizations?  Organizations have their place and do much- we love organizations like Chapin Water (check them out at www.chapinlivingwater.org).  Individual members of the body of Christ  may belong to, work in and do powerful things through large organizations.

However, the church is something else.  The working definition of the church that I use is "a spiritual family on mission together with Jesus."  The Kingdom grows by the multiplication of such families.  The members grow by speaking the truth to one another in love and by forgoing the exercise of power over one another.  We must press each other into Jesus, the present, functioning Head of His body.

When something gets too large to fulfill the 30 plus "one another" commands of the New Testament, it is no longer a church.

He calls us friends.

Your brother

Steve

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