Demonstrating Love To All. How does a Christian treat their enemy? Do they do as the Gentiles…or do they take the “high road”? Peter well-known advice “Always be prepared to witness the hope which is in you…” has specific reference to ones witness in the face of persecution. Peter, moved by the Spirit, had good reason to write these words. The reason is to tell leaders how to conduct themselves in conflict.
Patience. Even those who have memorized, read and re-read Romans 5:1ff will find new meaning in Paul’s words,
“We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. No only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given.”
Romans 5:3-5 NIV
Learning True Spiritual Strength. Leading with a heart-wrenching recognition that the real strength of a Christian is ones weakness which rests confidently and calmly in God’s power.
Contentment. Paul described how he learned the secret in Philippians four. Level IV conflict means this lesson is ready to be learned again en masse in the context of the conflicted local church.
Trust. There’s a lot of talk about “letting go” and letting God. It sounds soooo spiritual….because it IS!!! Let go and, in spite of everything you see and sense in the overwhelm of the presence, trust Jesus’ promise, “I shall build My Church.” He will. He will. He really, really will.
Consistency. Can you “walk the talk and walk the walk?” or do you “talk the balk and balk the walk?”
Joyful Peace. While Jesus was in that Upper Room, He gave His disciples the “peace that the world cannot give.” The problem was, however, they didn’t feel peaceful at all. In fact, with all due respects, their lives were about to be shattered, Jesus was about to die, and everything was outright chaos. Jesus gave them peace. It was their fear and overwhelm with the immediate externalities of their situation which blinded them to that Peace. But the Peace was there. It really was. As long as they were pre-occupied with the externals and the immediate, their hearts would continue to be “troubled;” they would continue to be “afraid.”
Forgiveness. You can receive it. But can you give it? Can you forgive? Really? Level IV conflict will give those who patiently endure through it unparalleled opportunities to understand just how difficult it can be to forgive more than Peter’s recommended “seven time.” Even the most spiritual leaders will discover that forgiveness, like any other part of relationships, is not instantaneous for sinful human beings. It’s a process which, like grief, must painfully work through the issues of shock, denial, anger, et al.
Understanding of grace. Level IV conflict mentors leaders in the unparalleled, unimaginable truths that even with all our weaknesses, failings, and ineptitudes–not to mention our strengths, prowess, and misplaced arrogance and self-confidence–God does not walk away. He still determines to use even the greatest “misfit” of the kingdom and the “chief of all sinners.”
God’s calling is not deserved. God’s love is no where within ones grasp to earn. After all, isn’t that is why it’s called “grace?”
Thomas F. Fischer
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