Thursday, April 26, 2012

Handling Conflict on the Mission

I just wrote informally on conflict in the context of Jesus' ministry, but I thought it might be worthwhile to formalize my sense of how to handle conflict when you're on God's mission.

When you are on God's mission and you face opposition, you should:

1. Examine yourself.
This involves prayer. It involves reflection and introspection. It can involve seeking out the counsel of others. Are my motives pure?  Is my understanding right?

2. What are the costs of moving forward?
God doesn't usually force others to do his will. He allows us to resist his will. He often lets others stop his best plan because they have the human power to do so.  And the cost of moving forward with God's best plan can be too great to move forward. What will it take to move forward?

3. Make a decision.
There is a time to force God's hand on others. This is especially true when the human cost of not moving forward is extreme.  There is a time when the opposition is "fleshly" and we plow on through. There is a time when the cost is greater than the benefit, and we concede or compromise or "shake the dust off our feet" and move on. There is a time when we wait, sensing that a door will open at a later time.

4. Implement purely.
We should move forward with God's will in a loving way.  We respect those who sincerely disagree and treat them with love. We act without spite for those whose opposition is not pure, looking to their redemption. We pray for those who resist God's will and pray for our own understanding and purity of motive.

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