COUNSELING PROBLEMS AND BIBLICAL CHANGE
BIBLICAL CONFLICT RESOLUTION
Redeeming church conflict is less about resolving specific problems than it is about seeing conflict as a means by which God is growing his people into true saints, true eternal children of who are being continuous conformed to his holy image.
—Barthel & Edling, Redeeming Church Conflicts
Conflict resolution is the practical outworking of a cure for a spiritual disease. This week we will first take a look at both spiritual health & the spiritual disease. We will not be going through any of the mechanics of restoration and resolution. The education of a medical doctor does not begin with surgery and medication, but rather with training in disease, germs, health, anatomy, physiology, et cetera; and so, neither will we.
In fact, a too-quick jump to mechanics without an understanding of disease and health can easily lead to worse problems. Therefore, we will look at this situation from the prospective of spiritual mechanics of the heart, before we look to interpersonal mechanics.
II. PEACEMAKING AND FELLOWSHIP
Peacemaking is the act of restoring/developing true Christian fellowship. Peacemaking, understood rightly, is worship and seeks to create deeper, more God-glorifying worship. Peacemaking is an act of love, in that seeks to restore relationships between human & God, and between brother & sister. Thus, peacemaking is based upon fellowship and develops/restores fellowship.
A. Something in Common
Fellowship simply means to hold something in common:
Fellowship (Gk. koinōnía). The communion or common faith, experiences, and expressions shared by the family of believers, as well as the intimate relationship they have with God.
Allen C. Myers, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 380.
When we speak of “fellowship” we are speaking of communion, holding something in common; we are not speaking of just friendship.
Since fellowship hinges upon having something in common with another, it is type of relationship which can develop quickly and will continue as long as the thing in common continues to draw the people into relationship. Consequently, it is a type of relationship which will end as soon as the basis for the relationship is withdrawn. Thus, it is fundamentally different than most friendships.
We know and experience fellowship at various levels and over various things. Some fellowship is very thin. Employees of a company have a sort of fellowship in common in that they have experiences, concerns, interests which are in common and based upon their common employment. If the group from work goes out to dinner together, they will most likely center their attention on their common interest: work.