Wednesday, May 16, 2012

In Everything, Love: Dealing with Conflict in Christian Ministry Part 7

Ultimately, we need to remember what the goal of ministry is—the goal of our lives with others is—to love.  We are to see the other person’s needs and try to meet them, whether it be the need of respect, the need of food, the need of encouragement or the need of rebuke.  We should not be acting from our own ambition or self-interest, as it says in Philippians 2, but we should be like Jesus and sacrifice our own interests for the sake of others.

            In ministry we may see someone as an enemy because they are threatening the ministry as a whole.  In that way, we might want to attack someone verbally because they are our enemy.  But Jesus told us that we are to love even our enemies.  This means we are not to attack them, but to see their need and to meet it.  Even if someone is acting inappropriately, we can speak to them with gentleness and respect (Galatians 6:1).  We need to remember, as Christian leaders we are not to judge as the world judges, but to see the other person, no matter how difficult or wrong they seem, as a person in need of love.  And we are to give them what love we have.

            Admittedly, sometimes we are so stressed or frantic or harried that we cannot love as we should.  In that case, we should confess our failings, apologize to the one we have not loved and act more appropriately.
This doesn’t mean we don’t enforce rules.  We certainly do.  But we do so in the Spirit of gentleness, humility and compassion.  As we are to do all things.  To love in this way, we need to pray and ask for the Spirit to give us the peace and love we need to approach others, especially when our buttons are being pushed.

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