Dave and I were blessed to read an endorsement of “Redeeming Church Conflicts” by Pastor Whipple of Kossuth Street Baptist Church in Lafayette, Indiana.
I especially appreciated Pastor Whipple’s encouragement for his church members to be prepared to redeem conflict (since it doesn’t sound like their church is facing extreme conflict right now); and also his insights into how conflict is a normal part of real relationships:
“Close and committed relationships like those found in a church family are always prone to be tested by conflict, disagreements, and misunderstandings (PHIL. 4:2-3). Here’s a helpful quote from the introduction to the book:
One of the most common emotions people feel when facing serious church conflict is hopelessness. Often this is because conflict puts blinders on our eyes and tempts us to isolate ourselves into self-protective groups who agree with us. In our passion to defend our position, we develop tunnel vision that clouds our judgment as we focus our time, energy and emotions almost exclusively on temporal matters. Things of heaven, theological truths about God and his church, even a passion for bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to the unsaved, all begin to fade from focus as positions become entrenched in daily battles and we experience despair.
This is a wise and helpful warning both for ourselves and for our understanding of those we are trying to lovingly encourage that may be experiencing some form of conflict. Helping entrenched people is what we do and who we are—after all, we are the church.”
I love his wording: “Helping entrenched people is what we do and who we are–after all, we are the church.” So wise! And sadly, so rare.
Most churches just GIVE UP on people when things get hard. People become entrenched in sin. They are hurting, wandering, drowning … and their so-called “shepherds” abandon them. It doesn’t have to be that way! We can REDEEM our conflicts for God’s glory and our good.
Please, God, help us to help entrenched people, rather than judging and rejecting them.
Thank you, Pastor Whipple.