When We Have Differences
This week we look at how to deal with conflict at the congregational and personal levels within the Body of the Church, His church.
Matt 5:23-24 & 18:15-17
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph.4:3)
If we follow the news in print, on television or online, we quickly come across conflict. Israel-Hamas has eclipsed Russia-Ukraine which itself took prominence over conflicts in places which our refugee friends have come from to our shores. We also see, and many of us know, the pain of conflict within families.
Nor is the church exempt from internal conflict.
Historically, conflict in the church has occurred from the great schism between the eastern Orthodox church and the western Roman church, and later the Protestant Reformation, down to local church conflict as well as Interpersonal differences between individuals. Many of us have personal experience of this.
This week we look at how to deal with conflict at the congregational and personal levels within the Body of the Church, His church. (See Livestream Video 19 Nov 2023) Jesus himself gave great advice on handling differences and we will look at some of that. Paul and others also give us important principles and pointers on dealing with conflict within the church. We will think about questions like:
Is conflict always wrong?
Is conflict always harmful?
Can conflict always be resolved and reconciliation achieved?
What can or should I do when I find myself caught up in a conflict situation?
As disciples of Jesus, this discussion is in the context of Paul’s instruction to the Ephesian church to, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph.4:3). Unity in the church – God’s family, Christ’s Body, the Bride of Christ, the people of God – is hugely important to God. That makes it important to us too.