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Church Conflict: Why not rather just be wronged?

Truth be told.  We’ve all been there.

Conflict in church settings in inevitable.

When should we stay and fight, and when should we leave?

That’s a tough question.

Joe McKeever makes an impassioned plea about the reputation of the Body of Chris when these conflicts happen.

He asks the question (and I think it’s a good one):  Why can’t we just walk away and let ourselves be wronged?

In some cases… it really is probably the best answer.

Joe writes:

Why not let yourself be wronged?  Why not just “take your lumps” and walk away? Do it…

for God’s sake. His honor is at stake here. That should matter to you more than your rights.

for sanity’s sake.Think of the sheer stupidity of what you are doing.

for the sake of your witness. These court cases are an ugly blot on your community.

for goodness sake. “All you are doing is providing fuel for more wrong, more injustice, and more hurt to the people of your own spiritual family.”

Only the strongest can walk away from a fight he could win but for which the cost would be too high.

1) Consider the collateral damage to a fight.

In brawls on television, furniture gets broken, windows busted, and onlookers injured. In “real life,” churches get destroyed, outsiders get disgusted, young believers get neglected, missions get sidetracked, and the honor of Jesus Christ takes a major hit.

The weak among us–the carnal and the cowardly posing as the courageous and the conquerors–will insist these things will resolve themselves, that all that matters is setting someone straight.

Back away from such a one. He is your biggest enemy and needs to be quarantined.

2) Consider what Jesus would do.

They said, “Lord, speak to my brother. Tell him to divide the inheritance with me.” The trial lawyer in us wants to take that case. “All right, what are the facts? What would be fair? Why is that brother being so heavy-handed and selfish? What does justice require?”

Jesus walked away from it. “Sir, who made me your judge? You be careful of greed. Life is not about how much you can possess.” (Luke 12:13-15)

This does not compute, does it? For those of us willing to take up every case, who insist on righting every wrong and punishing every wrong-doer, we are not satisfied with the Lord’s answer.

Jesus loses no sleep over not satisfying our sense of fair play.

He had, as the saying goes, bigger fish to fry. Something He kept calling “my hour” and “the Father’s will.”

He was trying to change men’s hearts in order to change their lives in order to transform their destiny. The temptation to take every detour that opened up, even those offering attractive soul-satisfying vistas and feel-good revenge settlements, must be resisted.

3) Consider who we are in Christ.

Again and again, the Apostle Paul asks the Corinthians, “Do you not know?”

that we will judge the world and the angels? (vv.2,3)

that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom? (v.9-10)

your bodies are members of Christ? (v.14)

your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? (v. 19)

The ramifications of these principles are mind-boggling. Because of who we are in Christ, we can walk away from lesser things, wrong things, and even good things. It’s all because we choose the best things.

When you take your brother to court to get your rights, you are defeated before you start. (6:7)

So, why not rather be wronged?

// Read more here:  Church Conflict: Why Not Rather be Wronged? 

OUCH.

So… what do YOU think?

I’d love to hear your comments below.  Come on… you’ve made it this far… what do YOU think about when you should stay and fight, and when you should walk away, even if you feel like you were wronged?

Leave your comment below…

Thanks!

Todd



4 Responses to “ “Church Conflict: Why not rather just be wronged?”

  1. Rus says:

    While not biblical, I think in some cases this applies …

    “Injustice anywhere is a threat to just everywhere.” ~ MLK

    I certainly believe that we walk a fine line with church disputes and particularly court cases against church members … However, consistent misbehavior is sinning – a lifestyle of sin,is, in and of itself; sin.

    Some pretend to love God, follow God, do Godly things. While I realize God will punish on his own terms – there has to be a line (or a time) where God allows or even wishes for us to discipline. God gave us authority in many ways. I believe he expects us to use wise judgement and authority. Was Solomon not considered a judge?

    I also believe that in some cases, litigation or severe punishment under the law could be the turning point for some that FINALLY get some to realize their ways and turn to God. I believe this is certainly the case for death row sentencing.

    We cannot, as Christians, sit by idley and allow false witnesses to bear the name of Christ.

    If the discipline (legal/social) is just – ANYONE with a right soul and a spirit-filled and therefore just heart see the discipline as fitting and also use the matter in their own lives to grow in Christ.

  2. Pastor Tom Smith says:

    I have two thoughts on this.

    The first is, the church I was saved in had a very Biblical Pastor, who was constantly misunderstood, and much abused because of it. The church governing board, was very secular, and was always picking his sermons apart. After a few years, he had, had enough, and resigned, not only from that church, but from being a pastor
    entirely. He is still a trusted mentor to me, and many people who were saved there.

    The second point is; the church, I now pastor, after much progress, and baptism’s for the first year, had a few old timers, that were just like my friends church, and wanted me to leave. I decided to avoid conflict and leave. However the majority of the church body now were those who were recently saved in this church, and forced a vote the next Sunday, without me and my family in attendance. The vote was very lopsided in my favor, and a committee of the majority came to my house, and asked me to reconsider my decision. I did. And we are still going forward eight years later.

    My point, (I think), is that if you avoid the conflict, and leave it in God’s hands, then you are doing what God wants.

    By the way, my friend took employment at a wonderful Christian School after that experience, and has hundreds of students that love him dearly.

    Did we both make the right choice? God chose a completely new path for my friend, and removed the conflict from the church I now attend.

    Just say’n!

  3. Good post, Todd. “If you ever find the perfect church, don’t join it,” the old saying goes. “If you do, you’ll ruin its record.” Not new, maybe not even profound, yet the adage does contain a kernel of truth. Churches are populated by imperfect people (people like you and me!).

    What if I have differences of opinion with my church? I basically have four options: (1) I can try to make changes from within (2) I can determine people will just have to put up with dissension (3) I can compromise my convictions (4) I can leave. None of these decisions come easily or without stress.

    Conflicts and dissension are among the hardest things church leaders have to deal with. What happens when problems are not addressed?

  4. Ileana mathenia says:

    Well, for my point of view most of the time I walk away and keep quite and happening to me for years now. Last year my son got a shot with the bibi gun in his leg because the kids not want him in the subdivision they call him an outsider, they been call him Gay for years, I been pray for him I put him in petition prayers request. I been try to speak with the parents, I made police report last year. For me is hard see my son hurt and however I explain him that this is have a purpose I THINK HE DON’T BELIEVE ME because this issue of bullying never finish.
    This been a tough time for my son for years now.

    Thank you

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