Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.
(This is the third in a series of posts from Philippians 4 on dealing with church conflict).
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Phil. 4:4
So be honest. How many times did you use that verse before you realized that its context is church conflict?
This verse begins Paul’s prescription for dealing with conflict. In the case of the Philippians, it was the conflict between Euodia and Syntyche. In my church it would be a different issue. In your church, a different one yet. But in any case, Paul’s first word of advice is “rejoice!”
How is it that Paul can say that about a church fight? What is it that he understood about church conflict that we are inclined to miss?
First, Paul understood that conflict is inevitable in church. If there are people in your church, there will be conflict. It is a part of the human condition. Issues are to the church what waves are to the seashore. No matter what issue we are dealing with today, there will be another one tomorrow, and another one after that. How naive would it be to be standing in the surf, get knocked over by a wave, and then stand up and say, “Well, I’m glad that’s over…we won’t have to worry about that happening again.” Paul understood this.
Second, Paul understood that there will never be a church conflict that sneaks up on God. Whatever conflict your church may be facing right now, God saw it coming a long, long time ago. He could have prevented it. He did not. He permitted it to come. How you deal with it will either bring …