Daily Devotion, 5-20-2020 - Dealing With Conflict

Pastor: Connie Belmore

Devotion: May 20, 2020
Dealing with Disputes
Reading:
1 Corinthians 6:1-10

If you have been following the devotions for this week, you may recognize a common thread. The titles alone for Monday’s and Tuesday’s devotions (“Pouring into Others” and “Navigating Difficult Conversations” respectively), point to the theme of “Life Together in Christ”. Today takes us from learning about the skills we use as Christians to navigate through difficult conversations which we need before we deal with disputes, to the topic of today’s lesson. We are constantly moving from nurturing one another to having difficult conversations about various disputes that are likely to arise among the people who comprise the church. These two principles are intertwined and as Christians, we need to consistently practice them, all together, in the church, no matter how difficult.

In today’s reading, Paul gives us guidance on how to deal (or not deal) with disputes among believers. Paul clearly states that we do not take church disputes outside the church to non-believers. Evidently, this group of Christians had made their internal disputes very public through lawsuits. Now wouldn’t that be a real great selling point for a non-believer who might be considering attending church at the First Church of Corinth (FCC)?

  1. suggests that it is better to be wronged or to be cheated by another believer and keep disputes within the church than to make it public through a lawsuit. This principle is certainly not to suggest that all lawyers and personnel associated with court systems are unbelievers. However, the legal system is comprised of a mix of people, to include some who are unbelievers. When Christians file lawsuits against one , we expose our lack of unity for the public to see. I think ’s point goes beyond just avoiding lawsuits against other believers, to include a more comprehensive overarching principle of not airing the dirty laundry of the church for non-believers to hear. This behavior does nothing to further the kingdom of God.

Paul concludes by reminding the people of FCC that before they air their dirty laundry outside the church, they may need to work on a few internal issues.   He provides a very comprehensive list of all kinds of sins they may need to consider in their own lives which include (1) a list of sexually immoral acts, (2) theft, (3) greed, (4) drunkenness, (5) backbiting, and (6) fraud. I expect if we honestly go through this list as it pertains to each one of us individually, we might find that we have even recently committed one or more of these sins. We need to begin with a self-assessment before we point the finger outward to another believer (or anyone else for that matter) and pray that God will help us to live a more righteous life. The next steps were covered in yesterday’s devotion about navigating through difficult conversations within relationships that are grounded in mutual respect and deep commitment to holding one another accountable in Christian love. These relationships are established through extending grace and peace to one another, praying for one another, appealing to one another and recognizing our differences, while keeping conversations positive without compromising the mission of disciple making. Life together as disciples is truly about pouring ourselves out for one another, navigating through difficult conversations and dealing with disputes among each other instead of airing the dirty laundry of the church. Tomorrow we will take this one step further as we learn about the danger of “rice bowls”.

Dear God, thank you for the wise words of from the apostle Paul that remind us to be in constant discipleship with one another through the continuous and very vital practice of discipleship. Help us to deal with conflict using the principles Paul gives us in 1 Corinthians 6 and without airing our dirty laundry but dealing with it face to face with one another and within the context of loving, Christian relationships. We love you God and help us be ever mindful of showing that love to others individually and as the body of Christ. In Jesus’s name. Amen

 

 
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