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So, today I begin a blog series that seeks God’s guidance for Christians in conflict.
This series will be relevant, I believe, to one-on-one relationships and to denominational disagreements.
Thus Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians: “I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.
Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life” (Phil 4:2-3).
All I ask is that you acknowledge the source of this material: I wish conflict among Christians were a relatively insignificant problem.
Roberts Note: You may download this resource at no cost, for personal use or for use in a Christian ministry, as long as you are not publishing it for sale. God’s Guidance for Christians in Conflict: Introduction This is one blog series I wish were completely unnecessary.
I wish there wasn’t animosity within churches and denominations. The fact is that Christians often have a hard time getting along with each other.
I wish we who believe in Jesus could experience the unity he commended to us (John -24).
My hope is that when we experience conflict in the church, we will be prepared to deal with it in a way that honors God and strengthens Christian community.Now this is always a good starting point, the best there is, in fact. Conversely, if we tenaciously hang onto biblical teaching, we’ll find the power to act rightly even when our feelings try to drag us in the wrong direction. But rarely are these the ways of a God who says to us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8).But in times of conflict it’s even more essential that we begin with and cling to biblical teaching. First, in times of conflict our natural human emotions often try to dictate our behavior. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself wanting to get even with people who have wronged me. Library of Congress.)Second, in times of conflict we must stand solidly upon Scripture because God’s ways of dealing with conflict are generally very different from the world’s ways. The world doesn’t have much room for one who tells us to turn the other cheek, who calls us to forgive seventy times seven, and who urges us to imitate his humble, self-sacrificial servanthood.Yet by holding on for dear life to God’s Word I’ve managed to avoid behaviors that would have been both sinful and self-defeating, even if they seemed to be temporarily satisfying. When we’re in the midst of some church battle, we’re tempted to adopt the ways of the world. We can also be tempted to use human schemes to defeat our opponents. So we need the Bible to show us different ways to operate in times of conflict: the ways of peace, the ways of the gospel, the ways of Jesus Christ.We spin like we’re in the middle of a dirty political campaign. Third, in times of conflict among Christians, we need the Bible as the source both of practical guidance (here’s how to act) and of theological insight (here’s how to think about God and the church).
Today, I want to draw your attention to one of the most important passages for discerning God’s guidance for Christians in conflict.: Philippians 2:1-11.