Monday, August 15, 2011

What if there was a complaint department in church?

I can remember the old slapstick comedy routines where there was a complaint department and some poor soul behind the counter had to listen to and solve every ones problem that came by. If I remember right, most of the complaints were outlandish and the comedian portraying the complaint department usually had a crazy reaction that didn't really solve anything.

We laugh at such comedy routines, but how realistic does that sound to real life drama?

I think that every business establishment should have a complaint department. That way we would have a place that we could go to to complain about the service or whatever is eating away at us...At the restaurant: "The food is cold!" At the dry cleaners: "You used too much starch!" At the movie theatre: "It is too cold in here!" At the local Walmart: "The check out lines are too long!" At the doctors office: "How much longer do I have to wait?"

Everywhere we go, it seems someone has something to complain about. Even in church..."The music is too loud!" "The carpet is the wrong color!" "They never sing from the hymnals anymore!" "The preacher goes too long!" "Did you see what the preachers wife was wearing today?"

Wouldn't it be strange if every church had a complaint department? You could fill out your complaint on a card, turn it in and someone behind the counter could help resolve your issue. It is sad to think that of all places, the church would need to have such a place. But it's true, church is not exempt from complaints. Nor is it exempt from strife, disagreement and what the Bible talks about...disunity.

As mature Christian leaders in the church body, we must be able to distinguish between the rebuking of sin and petty actions.

ROMANS 12:17-18 "Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

When you read the letters of Paul, you hear a particular tone when it addresses the issue of conflict in church. Whatever the disagreement may be, whether it is concerning the roles of women in the church, or the leadership or the role of the Spiritual gifts, one thing is the same when it comes to making a resolve...the answer must be centered on focusing on God and not on man. We must surrender to God and not to the ideals and ways of man.

In our man flesh, we can let our ideas, our visions and our pride stand in the way of what God wants to do. When we are led by our own flesh, it is difficult to follow the lead of Christ. Paul continually reminds us that we are to express our oneness (our unity) with Christ by showing love and acceptance to others because He first loved and accepted us.

True wisdom can solve any conflict. No matter where it is but especially in the body of believers. But often times our own pride and fleshly desires stands in the way. However, Gods grace will always prevail. Man may seek other things, but God seeks peace and will bring it in an orderly fashion. Those that try to stand in the way of peace and love will be reckoned with.

Pettiness that arises out of hearts of jealousy, bitterness and pride will only ruin relationships and in some cases ruin ministry. As mature Christian leaders, we must pursue peace and love. Sometimes that may mean we will have to "agree to disagree." It is never God's will that there be disunity in His church or among His children. Sometimes you might find yourself in a place that you will have to stand alone and take a stand for what initiates unity. Unity must start with the top and trickle down thru the rest of the body. Satan thrives on conflict and he wants to pull you into it and keep you in conflict, however:

JAMES 4:7-8 "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you."

James asks a very crucial question...are we resisting God or resisting the devil? How we respond to life and to others will be rooted in how we respond to God.

A humble heart and spirit will respond in love and peace and seek God's ways, while a prideful heart and spirit will respond in criticism, disagreement and judgement, seeking to serve mans desires.

Humility and pride serve two different masters...and when brought to the complaint department, both will end up with two different outcomes.

What are you doing to create a spirit of unity in the world you live?

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