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How to Show Grace in Disagreement

Description

When you have conflict with someone in your church, how can you keep from dismissing or judging them for behavior that you don't understand?

"Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don't see things the way you do." (Romans 14:1, The Message)

Unity is not uniformity. When God says he wants his followers to be united, it doesn't mean he wants us all to be alike. If he had wanted that, he would have created us all the same!

For unity’s sake, we must never let differences in the church divide us. We should celebrate those differences while staying focused on what matters most: learning to love each other as Christ has loved us and fulfilling God's purposes for each of us in his church.

But what about all those differences in church members who annoy you? How can you be unified with someone who irritates you to no end?

"Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don't see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently" (Romans 14:1 The Message).           

In church—or anywhere—be quick to listen and slow to anger when you have a disagreement. Why? Because most people tend to look at how far a person has to go rather than recognizing how far they've already come.

If you knew how much someone had already overcome in life, you'd probably be rejoicing with them instead of criticizing them for where they are now. 

When you have conflict with someone whose background you don’t know, don’t dismiss them or judge them for behavior that you don't understand. Stop thinking, "What is wrong with this person?" Instead, ask, "What happened to them?"           

Someone’s behavior might be shaped by trauma or crisis. Hurt people hurt people. When you find someone who's hurting other people, if you dig deep enough, you'll find that they also have been hurt.

The people that you think deserve your kindness the least are those who need the most massive doses of love. To achieve unity, offer empathy and compassion instead of judgement.

When you affirm someone’s worth and the story God is writing through their life, you don’t just change that one person’s life. You can transform a whole community!

Talk It Over

How do you tend to react when someone in your church has a different opinion than yours?

What characteristics did Jesus model when he faced conflict, even among those who were closest to him?

When you disagree with someone in your church, what can you say to show that you want to better understand them and their position?

If you've never invited Christ into your life, you can pray this simple prayer today: "God, I realize I need you. I want to be born again. I confess I have sinned against you, and I ask that you forgive all my sins. Jesus, I receive you into my life as Lord and Savior. Today, I’m turning every part of my life over to you. I want to follow you and do what you tell me to do. And I want to see your vision, purpose, and plan for my life. Please accept me into your family. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen."

If you’ve already accepted Christ into your life, then you can pray, "Father, help me to see life through the eyes of faith. I want to follow your vision for the things you want me to do. I’m going to trust you and expect great things from you as I step forward in faith to attempt great things for you. I’m committed to your plan for my life. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."

If you just prayed to accept Jesus, please email me at Rick@PastorRick.com and let me know. I’d like to send you some free materials to help you start your journey with Jesus.

Premium Resource: Going Deeper with God: A Personal Renewal Retreat

This devotional © 2022 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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