Man oh man I’m tired. I just came out of a meeting with a person from another church (the name of which I will keep to myself to protect the innocent and everyone else) complaining, ranting and raving, and criticizing the leadership for various decisions etc. Now I’m not so stupid to believe that the leadership in any and every church is so infallible that their decision are always God inspired. The reality is that often leaders make mistakes. Often they can be blindsided by their passions and their own experience and tradition, or by a particular reading of scripture. And even when they do get it right or make a good and wise decision it can quickly fall apart by miscommunication and bad communication. Making wrong or ill informed decisions is one thing. Miscommunication or bad communication is still something quite different. However the problem I’m finding over and over and over again is that people start reading all sorts of malicious intentions and conspiracy theories into other people’s actions. In this case I just happen to know the other side of the story and knew there was a simple and easy explanation for what happened. In this case it was a simple case of miscommunication. Nothing more and nothing less. Yet despite my attempts to soothe the savage beast, it was like water off the proverbial Ducks back. He would not listen.
I could go on and on but it was so obvious that it was a misunderstanding I just had to laugh (Quietly within myself)
Like I said there are cases where sin is the cause of the conflict, but sadly too often it arises from a mistake. So what do we do in such cases?
a. Always always remember there is two sides of the story. We are too quick to jump to our conclusions. I remember trying to solve the dispute between two people. After hearing one side I was convinced that the other side was wrong and rebellious and needed to repent. But when I talked to the other side – Whoa – I heard a completely different story and he explained clearly what had happened. I did the research and it confirmed his side of the story. So bottom line – DON’T DON’T jump to conclusion. LISTEN LISTEN to other side
b. Distinguish between actions and attitude. In nearly all the conflicts I’ve tried to resolve people keep reading ungodly attitudes into wrong actions. Now I know there are actions which are down right ungodly. But in many of the cases I’ve come across the action was not ungodly just unwise. When I’ve talked to people about what they did they explained to me their intentions – all noble and godly – it’s just that they made an error in Judgement. There was no conspiracy theory. No maliciousness or hurt intended. It was just a simple error of judgement. OK people need to be careful next time. But that being said you don’t smash someone and criticise them because, while their intentions were noble, they made an error in judgement. Now if there was conspiracy theory or ungodly motives then – YES – Rebuke them. But this has not been the case in most of the cases I’ve had to deal with
c. Graciousness in all things. Lastly we need to learn the grace of the Lord Jesus in our dealings with others. We need to learn to forgive, to give people the benefit of the doubt etc etc. And even if we were right and our suspicions were correct we still need to learn to forgive as the Lord Jesus has forgiven us. We need to take seriously Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
After the discussion I asked the person if he is able to give thanks to God for his leaders? You see him squirming and trying to be the pharisee – aiming to love according to the letter of the law but not the spirit of the Law.
So friends, please let’s stop all the conspiracy theories. In all honesty people many people do stupid and silly things even despite their good intentions. But let’s remember that what is important is that we love one another as Christ loved us. By this will the world know that we are his disciples.