Wednesday, May 26, 2010

React ... Or Respond?


What's your gut level reaction to confrontation?  
  Disgruntled parishioners? 
Political wrangling and power plays?

The Barna Group asked pastors, "Think back to the last time you felt disappointed or frustrated with people in your congregation. What did you do—if anything—to address the challenges you faced?"

Prayed about the issue

Confronted the issue immediately

Had someone on ministry team/board/staff deal with the issue

Looked for Scripture to address, solve the problem

Sought counsel from someone I trusted

Talked with the person

Confronted the issue eventually

Addressed it from the pulpit/in a sermon

Had a council meeting/board meeting


Read on ... and discover how when it comes to disputes, you just might be a bit of a sloth.  Or a skunk, hawk, turtle, or lion. 
Interesting ... self-examination is at the bottom of the list.  The Psalmist implores God to "Search me, O God, and know my heart ... see if there is any offensive way in me ..." {Psalm 139:23,24}.
Not in ministry? You're not off the hook! The Psalmist's cry applies to each of us - because differences of opinion are a part of life.
We all have to choose how to deal with the things that get under our skin.  Family tension.  Workplace politics.  Church discord.  Sticky relationships with friends and neighbors.
What would our daily challenges look like if we would respond, rather than react? 
To choose our comeback based on some heartfelt prayer, serious Scriptural reflection, and honest self-examination.
It just might be a refreshing change of pace from automatically opening our mouths without giving ourselves a bit of a spiritual/emotional/mental "time out." 

Or retaliating.  Or passing the buck. 

Or keeping quiet - and adding the offense to that growing pile of stuff we're already hauling around inside our souls.
It's our responsibility to figure out what we're going to do with all that life throws at us.  In ways that are true, loving, and respectful. 

So that Christ is honored.

And the only way to do that is to spend more time inviting Him to speak into our souls.  And to be obedient to what He reveals.  
Always Being Challenged ~

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