April 14, 2011

An Undesired Learning Opportunity-Redux

I have been told, and I have taught others that all hardships, all struggles and all conflict should be seen as God ordained opportunities to grow. It is always much easier to say that when things are going well. Right now I am 'enjoying' an unscheduled and rather undesired opportunity to learn, and grow.

Right now I am being reminded that every Christian I meet is a hybrid. We are all a mix of saint and sinner. We all contain an old nature and a new nature. We have been redeemed, but we are not yet fully transformed.

I know that this is the case with me at least.

I am facing a challenge to the leadership I give. The complaints, while not insignificant, are not what I would have considered major. The problem more lays in the way the information has been relayed and to whom it was relayed.

Instead of talking to me directly they reported their concerns to a committee without my being there. I am not sure why they did this. In most situations I would have considered them a mature believer that has little difficulty confronting people when they felt it was necessary to do so.

The bible has a lot to say about how to handle conflict between believers, which is another reason that I should not be surprised when conflict happens. Passages like Mathew 18:15-19, Acts 15, Titus 3:10, 1 Corinthians 5, and 2 Corinthians 2 provide a number of solutions to resolve conflict. And while there are some notable differences one thing they all have in common is the instruction to try to solve problems between individuals before involving others.

But like I said we are all hybrids. And to expect that everyone will in all cases do exactly the right this is unreasonable. It demands people be prefect. Something we are not.

But the response and behaviour of other people is not what really concerns me. It is my response and my behaviour that does. Because like the bible contains clear instruction on how to fight the good fight, it also contains clear instructions on what to do when you have been wronged.

Looking For The Still Calm Presence Of Christ In This Storm
You forgive.

You forgive 7X70 times. You turn the other cheek. You remember that God first forgive you. You model Jesus on the cross, crying 'Father forgive them for they know not what they do!'

This is no small feet. I feel anger. I feel sadness. But in the midst of it I feel like Jesus is telling me, 'that person, the one who hurt you is my child and I love them. I have forgiven them, who are you to hold a grudge? Who are you to stay angry when I have shown them mercy? What if I forgave like you? What if God's love and mercy was overwhelmed by his righteous anger? Model me, emulate me, follow me.'

Part of me wants to fight. Part of my wants to run. Part of me wants to yell. Part of me wants to cry. I too am a hybrid. And all of those responses come from the sinner part of me.

I am searching for a different part.

I am searching for part of me that is not really part of me. I am searching for the saint that I am becoming. The part of me that is Jesus, the part of me infused with the Holy Spirit. That is the part of me that can respond in love and grace instead of anger and sadness.

That is the part of me that must show up in meetings, in conversations, and on Sunday's. Because that is the part that shows who Jesus is and what he has done with my life thus far. Right now I am searching for the calm presence of Christ in a storm. Like he silenced the wind and the waves I pray that he calms the sea of emotion churning in me.