16 November 2010

in the light

Perhaps this is something that most Christians have been taught, but I don't recall hearing it quite this way before. I know a godly man and woman who were in the midst of heightened conflict in their church. It was, as I am convinced all church conflicts are, a season of spiritual and emotional challenge. She once told me, as their situation was trying to work toward resolution, that her struggle was with prayer.

As Christians we are to pray for each other, and for the coming of God's kingdom. For some, it is enough to pray for the well-being of another Christian while praying against their actions. This is a a bit of the hate-the-sin-love-the-sinner approach. It is not satisfying. The other hand is that we are given a spirit of unity, the love of God that is the greatest force in the world. Dividing this love within ourselves cannot happen without damage to the kingdom's work. Before we begin conflict management, what are we to do?

In the context of believers who are attacking one another, we must make certain that we do not allow ourselves to fall into the pitfalls of pride and power. That is easy to do when we are trying to do what we have deemed right. For, in a moment we discover that we are truly fighting against the body for our own perceptions.

Out of this emotional place comes the wisdom I once heard. This particular woman admitted that she could not pray for those who were attacking them from within the church. (Some will object to this spirituality, but you must have found yourself in a time such as this before you can offer your judgmental attitude.) Her decision was that she refused to pray against those who were attacking them from within the church. And this led to her wisdom: she began to pray that all things - her own heart and actions included - would be seen in the light of God's glory.

I know of many Christians and church leaders who do not have the openness to ask for everything to be seen in the light. And here we see that in the midst of trial God's kingdom has the opportunity to be more profound than the totality of our 'successful' spiritualities combined. This is the weakness of God confounding the strong of the world, I am certain. There is no compromise with the ways of the world, no encroachment of darkness upon the heart . . . it is the complete surrender to the cross that we have been called to carry.

1 comment:

Mindful Searcher said...

In all situations, God is already at work to resolve whatever problems may exist. Should we not simply pray to be open to God's leading, praying for each person concerned in the dispute, regardless of that person's position regarding the matter under dispute? Then, we leave the resolution in God's hands.