I received an email from a dear friend going through a tough time with their church. They have been hurt with certain situations.
Church divisions, conflicts and fights are not new to us. Yet, I think my reply to them may help some others who are struggling with similar situations.
Here is the letter:
I am yet to come across a perfect church. And if a believer has been in a church long enough, at some point or the other there is something that would have caused disagreement, disappointment or even hurt.
The reason is simple: Perfect people do not exist. That is why, love and forgiveness becomes the basis of any relationship on earth.
We should always remember that the enemy hates a praying church and united believers. He will do everything in his power and use all the forces of hell to bring division. I pray that God will use you to be the peacemaker in your church. You will be able to achieve this only on your knees.
Thank you for writing to me. Please stay strong in the Lord. I am glad that our blog ministers to you. Hope to see you sometime again in God’s time and ways.
Here are a few steps that I would ask you to prayerfully consider:
Fast and Pray
Really? Oh yes! Majority of times, these are confusions that the enemy brings in to hinder the growth of your church and bring division and diversion in the Kingdom of God. Many times, consistent prayer itself may solve the whole issue.
Clarify the Confusion
Most of the time, people are hurt over nothing. Basically, assumptions of actions and words cause unwanted pain. Call those who are involved, have a coffee with them and discuss how you felt and what you understood. Try not to email when you can call and avoid calling when you can meet in person.
A side note to our dearest Pastors:
When your church members do come to clarify their hurts with you, they are in no way against you. They would not try clearing their stand if they did not love you. I hope that you would hear them out with all your heart and surely share your heart and doubts with them.
An apology, if required, does not make you weak but in fact makes you more respectable. We understand your job is not the easiest. May the Lord bless your humble heart.
Thank you for taking care of us.
Clarify Your Stand
If there is something that you disagree with, try to explain your point. Go prepared. If you are not prepared, you are going to let your emotions do the talking and that is not going to be good. (I’ve lived long enough to know that, trust me!) Instead of saying what you feel, find out what the Bible says about it and ask what their opinion is.
Important: Even if you do disagree, do it in love and peace.
What If You Disagree?
Chances are that you will rarely find a church that you fully agree with. If your Church is not into serious doctrinal issues, I’d stay and be the change I’d like to see. God does use these kind of situations to change, mould and sharpen characters for His glory.
But don’t put your family in harm’s way. It is better they go to a place where they worship God in peace, instead of losing them to religion. (See another post, on Can I leave my Church?)
Be the Good News Carrier
You will be tempted to bad mouth those that oppose you. But run away from that temptation. Yes, you may be in the right but you are not a bad news carrier. Oh yea, they may have bad mouthed you but that should not matter to you. Let God bring justice. Be still and let people think whatever they like. You are answerable only to God. God will honor you for trusting Him even in this humiliating situation.
Even if there is something that goes haywire. Pray and ask the Lord to help you overlook the mistakes of others. Seek the Lord to help you love them. Chances are that you may struggle to do so. But that’s where the Lord works on the inside of you.
God will use these situations to work with your pride, ego, and teach you forgiveness, love and humility.
And don’t forget James 1: 2- 5, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.“
What a mighty God we serve! May God bless your sincerity and faithfulness! (1 Kings 9:4,5)
What are your thoughts? Have you been in this kind of situation? What has the Lord taught you?
Don’t miss the next post on How to Feel the Presence of God? – 40 Truths!