Pushing Back, Part VI (a new series for Thanksgiving week)

22 Nov

Ephesians 5:11-13, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.  For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.  But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light:  for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.”

When our hearts, normal but sinful, betray us:  As a P.S. to yesterday’s post, I want to make it clear that I do not believe all conflict within the church is based on mental illness.  Some of  it is.  Maybe 10%, if I can make an estimate.  And that is if you include the people with a family history of things with which they themselves are not personally diagnosed.  They may have at least a tendency to not see the world accurately, both due to their genetics and due to the fact that they were raised around mental illness.

I have a holy awe for that situation myself, as I had a grandmother whom I never met who was diagnosed with mental illness several times in her life.  I keep my heart supple before God on this issue, realizing that, there but for the grace of God go I.  If I don’t stay in His Word, I could find myself believing some of the same lies I was told were a problem for my grandmother.

However, I believe that most conflict in the church is just caused by our sinful hearts that want their own way.

And I have seen that conflict become more insistent over the decades, as the world descends toward chaos and we follow behind the world in its descent by about ten years (I attribute that statistic to our former associate pastor, Tim Bell).

I have seen quiet whisperings within the Body of Christ (which were harmful enough, back in the day) become outright hostile confrontations in hallways.  And I have seen conversations about a person who is not present that express total contempt for that person.

I hate that.  But, more than that, I know it grieves the Holy Spirit of God.

When we are in conflict, the Bible makes our goal to be restoration.  Not contemptuous dismissal of the other person.  Restoration.

If we are not seeking restoration, humbly and with a willingness to forgive and work through difficulties, we are out of line.

That just has to be said.

We all sin and we all want our own way.  But we need to realize that about ourselves and not make an idol of our own way.

We worship God.  If we raise insistence on having our own way into the thing we worship, we will eventually become our own god.

Scary stuff, that.

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