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Wed May 22, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
Tue May 21, 2013
by Amanda Edmondson
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Mon May 20, 2013
9 types of leaders in Scripture
Mon May 20, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
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Sun May 19, 2013
by Shandel Slaten
Conflict in Church
I used to think that handling conflict in a church was a matter of factually, carefully, reasonably establishing responsibility among the offended parties, gently assigning appropriate blame here, here and here, and then they would apologize, renew fellowship, and amend their ways for a better future. I was naïve. People don’t own up.
Someone Else’s Fault
Self-justification is the deepest impulse in the fallen human heart. People don’t want to know how they harm others. If they commit an offense too blatant to be denied, they find an excuse for it. They even invent their own self-serving version of the facts. Nietzsche wrote, “My memory says, ‘You did this.’ My pride says, ‘I cannot have done this.’ Eventually, my memory yields.” No one ever confesses, no one ever takes responsibility, and no one ever makes things right. The whole world is a mess, and it is always someone else’s fault.
The Fraud of Innocence
Only at the cross—where the sinless Christ became sin for us—is our innocence exposed as the appalling fraud that it is. Only at the cross do we see our ugliness truly and starkly. And only at the cross can grace finally enter in, when we discover to our surprise that we are loved.
Judgment or Mercy?
Short of that divine grace, though, how do we handle conflict in a practical way? We have to decide what we want. Do we want judgment or do we want mercy? Those are the choices. It’s blunt. In the next life, everything will be resolved at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). Until then, we should choose mercy, as Jesus did: “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice” (Matt. 9:13). It preserves relationships. And it’s not a lowering of the standard; it is his standard.