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Pointers along the way #680

Conflict in the Body

- Jacob Ninan

The church of Jesus Christ on this earth is called the Body of Christ and all born again believers in Christ are members in it (Ro.12:5;1Co.12:12), irrespective of which local church they belong to. Those who are not born again are not members of this Body even if they belong to some local church! Membership in the Body is according to the names that are recorded in the Lamb's Book of Life (Re.21:27). Each of us has a part to play in the functioning of the Body for which we are gifted differently (1Co.12:6,7). As a result we all have different concerns about the work of the Body and we find ourselves differing in how we go about with our ministry. But that is not our only difference! We are different in so many ways from one another -- temperament, family background and experiences, intelligence, skills, knowledge, education, etc. This diversity among the members of the Body leads to a lot of conflicts.

A man is so very loving and kind but he cannot say no to anyone. Another one is very tender and compassionate but tends to overlook justice and discipline. One is taken up with justice and rights but he cannot overlook anyone's sins or weaknesses. One is very strong on being neat and tidy but is not careful about punctuality. One man wants to help everyone but he doesn't know how to avoid meddling. One is so prayerful but he is not known for action. One is very 'anointed' in ministry but he is failing in family life.

What this also shows is that we are all in different training modules! Even though the ultimate goal of our training is to become like Jesus, right now we seem to be attending very different classes. One has to manage his anger or lust, and another his passivity or laziness! All this causes many problems in dealing with one another. We can't understand why some others are like that, and also why they can't be merciful to us!

But God knows what He is doing, and He causes even these conflicts to work together for our good (Ro.8:28). In other words, one brother's faulty behaviour has a chance to train us to gain in some virtue (Jas.1:2-4)! And our sinful behaviour provides an 'opportunity' to someone else! But we are not used to thinking like this. When we have a conflict with another, we wonder how he could be like that (noting his problem area), not realising that some weakness is being exposed in us too at the same time. In the same way, we keep patting ourselves on our back thinking of our strong areas that we are using in this conflict! If you have done wrong to me, I think of your wrong and you think of my lack of forgiveness. And I think about how I never do what you have done, and you think of how good natured you are usually and this was only a slip!

If only we can think first of taking the beam from our eyes (Mt.7:3) we would be able to see better and also contribute towards the overall building of the Body of Christ (Ep.4:16). In this way we can grow individually and collectively towards the fullness of Christ.


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