The challenge of walking with the God who knows me
Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
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2 Corinthians 5:17
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ.”
There was a very fraught meeting in the midsts of a leadership crisis. As I returned home, I spent the whole time that I drove, fighting mental arguments. I was brimming with anger at the high handed manor of the other side. These issues are always somewhat complex. The bare bones of it were: We had a structure that allowed the individual groupings freedom to choose their own direction. The central leadership was wishing to change this and move the mission in a particular direction. The group, of which I was part of the leadership team, felt threatened by that direction and were resisting. There were two directions in conflict. Yet behind each of these directions was a man!
I returned home just in time to put the children to bed. While reading a children’s Bible story book, we came to the episode where Absalom begins his conspiracy. There, it hit me like a bolt what our sin was in this sorry saga! I was struck by the similarity of the attitude of our leader. Not that he was leading a rebellion or actively doing anything improper, but his attitude was enough to threaten the security of the other leader involved. “Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you.”(2 Samuel 15:3 NIV) Here was someone taking the opportunity to criticise leadership and at the same time to direct attention to himself. I was completely bowled over by this revelation. I had never seen anything but right in our case and wrong in the case of the other side. Now Jesus had opened my eyes to a fault that was both profound and awful.
My immediate response to this understanding was to consider how I might communicate it to those involved. This did not appear to be a simple matter. Yet as I sought God in prayer and asked him how, he redirected me and asked me to pray for a reconciliation of both sides, primarily to himself, and through that to each other. It was quite amazing to me that having given this revelation I was not to explain it to these leaders but only to pray.
I did indeed pray, and this time of prayer was for a considerable period through many twists and turns. Ultimately this time of prayer ended with my making a comment to each on of these leaders. In each case the comment turned out to be key to their thinking, though that had not been the intent when I said the words. One of them took note of what he sensed the Lord speaking to him through those words. From that point on, we never heard another Absalom style speech. The change was in many ways too late to save the situation, which by this stage was well advanced in bitterness. Yet, it would appear that was a reconciliation between this man and Jesus. Of the other leader, I was unsure. We were on opposite sides and that makes it difficult to see where someone stands. I am sure however that years later the Lord is giving him another chance, and I am excited to see how it works, and am excited too to work with him on it.
RECONCILIATION IN CONFLICT