A leader approached me who felt ill-treated by another leader. (How sad huh?) Why would a “leader” speak their fleshly mind, cutting down another person? Don’t we all deal with “in the heat of the moment” situations? It’s harder when you not only get cut down with sharp words, but you now are the subject of someone being cynical and grumbling against you.
Well, you can imagine how this person must have felt - beat down, angry, hurt, discouraged, embittered...
As I’ve been studying Philippians, this passage popped in my heart!
27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
In this passage, unfortunately, the opponents are not brothers and sister in Christ. Unfortunate because, we have enough opposition in our dealings and trials in the world around us, that it’s sometimes disheartening to think that a “fellow leader in Christ” would be your opponent!
My encouragement to you if you find that you are dealing with “opponents” in your ministry, church or family:
- Live unto Jesus all the more, letting your conduct be worthy of Jesus!
- Stand firm, striving side by side with those who hurt you. Don’t run, RECONCILE!
- Don’t be frightened by conflict and suffering. It’s uncomfortable and unnerving - but speak truth, with tons of Jesus love. Approach the person and say, “I felt hurt by that comment or action. You may not have meant it but I don’t want to see our relationship divided.”
- Let the grace of Jesus fill your heart with compassion for your accuser. It helps to really meditate on His Word to quiet your mind and heart.
Believe that Jesus will not only lead you through the situation, but strengthen you and those involved to be more like Him!
p.s. - Don't forget the Matthew 18 process when reconciling differences and offenses :)