On Sunday, I spoke about resolving conflict in community.
This is not easy.
When you have a conflict with someone, it creates tension.
We would rather have things just be easy.
Not ruffle anyone’s feathers.
Not rock the boat.
Or poke the bear.
But if there is conflict, it must be dealt with.
It can’t be left to fester.
Which is what unresolved conflict does.
It festers and then grows and then it creates barriers.
Barriers to relationship.
Barriers to community.
Which can have a global effect if there are others outside of the conflict involved.
Being in community is hard.
It is easier to be a community of one.
We can ignore the things we dislike and do as we please.
But we miss out on community.
Which is what we are designed for.
Remember when God said of Adam (who was placed in the garden by himself),
It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.’Genesis 2:18
God is a community of Three.
The Holy Trinity.
We were created in God’s image.
We should be in community.
It’s good for us.
So we need to make sure we know the importance of resolving conflict.
Which is why Sunday’s Gospel reading is so important.
Radical community requires radical commitment.
- A Commitment to humility
As I shared on Sunday,
the question that the disciples had was which one of them was the greatest.
You can almost picture Jesus slapping His forehead in disbelief.
Why in the world would My disciples ask a question like this?
Have they not been listening to Me?
Community requires us to not impose ourselves in the community.
We need to have a healthy humility in recognizing, before God,
none of us are greater than another.
- A Commitment to the care of ourselves.
We can be our own worst enemies.
We get in the way of what we actually want.
But we need to understand that we need to take care of ourselves,
lest we become a source of stumbling for another.
Of these types of people,
Jesus says a millstone should be tied around their neck
and they should be thrown in water.
Important not to do?
- A Commitment to the care of others.
The 99 and the 1 is a great example of the importance of caring for others.
God wishes that not one of His lambs be lost.
God wants people to be restored. And this is done, primarily, through His people.
Can we be committed to helping others who are stuck? Hurt? Struggling?
- A Commitment to be diligent in resolving conflict.
Conflict cannot linger and it must be taken seriously.
As I shared on Sunday, the Scriptures encourage us to,
Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.”Ephesians 4:26
Again, when conflict is not resolved,
it grows into something bigger than the actual offense.
Which is not helpful for community.
But if we commit to work to resolve any conflict amongst us,
We contribute to a healthy community.
And if we allow ourselves to be committed to:
- Care for ourselves.
- Care for others.
- Resolving conflict.
Then this will lead to a Radical Commitment to Harmony.
Which is the goal.
To come to an agreement.
As Jesus says in the Gospel reading,
Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask,
it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.”Matthew 18:19
The word in the Greek for agree is the same root for the word symphony.
A “with sound.”
“Producing a sound together.”
When we commit to resolving a conflict,
We produce a sound together.
An agreement that builds on the relationship.
And enhances the community.
For the better.
Maybe you might ask yourself why this is important for us here at Holy Trinity?
We do not have any major conflict.
We all pretty much get along.
But my guess is that as we continue to grow and change,
We might disagree on the way in which we grow.
Or how we grow.
Or what will be required of us.
To be flexible with.
Or to give up.
Or to support.
(I have no specific plans by the way).
But it is a possibility.
And will require us to pursue radical harmony.
To make a sound together.