When Experiencing Relational Conflict
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” James 4:1
Personal agendas destroy ministries and can quickly turn beautiful expressions of grace into something ugly. Something hurtful and destructive.
About five years ago, God began to alert me to the hurt and loneliness in women around me. I sensed Him calling me to take action, and so, after much prayer, I launched Wholly Loved Ministries. Though, initially, we were small and largely unknown, we regularly saw God move. We watched in awe as He broke through decades of hurt, centered hearts deeply in truth, and transformed lives with the power of grace.
As our ministry grew, so did our team, and though most of our members served out of love, one woman in particular had ulterior motives. I’m sure she wanted to proclaim truth, but her dreams, her desire to elevate herself, seemed stronger. She soon became prideful and overly-assertive, focused on money, exposure, and accolades. Other team members grew uncomfortable and tension invaded our meetings.
Her actions and attitude leached our joy.
Have you encountered this?
Have you ever been that person?
I’ve seen differences in opinions destroy ministries and churches. I’ve watched faithful pastors brought to tears by angry dissenters. I’ve heard “logical” reasons for the anger and arguments, but James chapter 4 shines clarity on all conflict. Most often, our issue isn’t with someone or something.
It’s not really about what style of music our worship pastor chooses, that church service time change, or that decision we disagree with. Nine times out of ten, perhaps even twenty-nine out of thirty, the true war rages within. We want our way more than God’s. We’re focused on our pleasure and our comforts, our fears and our concerns, more than our desire to honor and obey God. More than our desire to share the gospel.
Whenever we feed our selfishness, regardless of its focus, ugliness follows. When we surrender all for the gospel, however, incomparable beauty unfolds. Churches and ministries grow, hearts unite, and lives are eternally changed.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. She writes for Crosswalk, is the author of eight contemporary novels, and helped write Wholly Loved’s Bible study based on the life of Sarai (Gen. 12-23) titled Becoming His Princess, releasing in the spring/summer of 2019. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall outings with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com.
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