“We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names, and all are different colors but they all have to learn to live in the same box.” I don’t know who originated this quote, but I’m sure he was referring to church.
After 35 years of pastoring the same church, I am still surprised when folks leave because they can’t get along with others in the fellowship. Often times people leave for logical and healthy reasons, but sometimes they just shoot out the door and never come back—and this after calling Father’s House their home for several years.
Working through difficult relationships takes commitment and work, and most folks don’t want church to be work—it’s the one spot in their busy week where they can rest and receive. I disagree. I view church as the training ground for relationships for the rest of eternity future. That is not exactly restful or easy.
I can also say that after 35 years in the same church, I am still learning how to get along with people in a healthy manner. I know I am dysfunctional and so are the people I fellowship with—that’s why we need Jesus. Most of us aren’t even aware of our dysfunctions—we’ve each lived with our abnormalities so long, we think they are normal. It’s always the other guy who is the problem—not me! But that’s the point—people aren’t the problem; what a person thinks and does is the problem.
It is hard to separate people from their actions— to love people and address their wrong thinking and actions in a healthy manner. This takes learning new relationship skills. It means having the heart of Jesus for an individual and seeking to communicate with him or her in healthy ways. Sometimes sin is involved and needs to be addressed, but always from a heart of compassion and a desire to draw closer to Jesus and to each other.
Does this mean that we never leave a church because of relationship problems? No. Sometimes spiritual abuse is a factor and spiritual authorities don’t want to recognize and work through such actions. I’ve known pastors that shouldn’t be pastoring. I’ve also seen the accusation of spiritual abuse used as an excuse by those who don’t want to work on their authority issues.
People are people and do people things. Jesus died for such people. Are we willing to lay down our lives to build relationship with folks we consider to be “difficult”? Are we willing to own the fact that we can be “difficult” at times too? What are your thoughts?
In Him together, Susan Gaddis
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This was my Facebook post this morning. Ties in a little with your words of wisdom. I read this after posting it. From Mark Nellesen
Having answers does not mean everything may go as you thought. The answers are not the solutions to all, we need to wait for results of our perseverance. Patience is a virtue!!! Love is a decision & seems to be lacking in our culture much of the time. Where are those who get rewarded like in the good ole days for sticking to their words? God rewards those who diligently seek Him. Wise men & women still seek Him. 🙂
Diligence is the key!!! Be consistent in your life & don’t listen to those who try to bring you down to their level.
“…a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again…”—Proverbs 24:16.
That is diligence. Don’t quit. Quitters never win and winners never quit! Diligence means to be constant, to make careful and continual effort. Romans 12:11 tells us not to lag behind in diligence but to be fervent in our spirit serving God.