Simple Thoughts During Trying Times
As we move into a period of discussion and change within the International Churches of Christ, I would like to offer some guiding principles to keep in mind along the way, in no particular order.
- Trust is earned. No leader can command anyone to trust them.
- Repentance is proven by deeds, not by talk. Repentance may be observed (2 Cor 7)
- God entrusts leaders to bring about His justice. God cares about justice a lot.
- Speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15)
- Forgive; if Jesus can forgive from the cross, we can forgive whomever. But remember, forgiveness does not mean lack of accountability, lack of consequences, or implicit future trust.
- Leaders, like all people, need to take responsibility for what they have done. Beware of anyone who says "move forward" in the interest of progress or peace when it keeps them from having to take responsibility for their actions in the past.
- Patience, patience, patience--- people come to see the truth at their own pace. If you have healthy boundaries, it's easier to have patience.
- The enemy is Satan and sin, not the people who "don't get it yet" (Eph 6).
- Do not turn issues into an "us/them" deal. It obfuscates the real issues.
- Truth is the weapon-- not force, ad populum arguments, threats, etc.
- Be willing to question yourself. Truth will still be truth, no matter how many times it is questioned.
- In any human conflict, there is usually right and wrong on both parts. Don't get blinded and fail to see the good in others and the bad in yourself.
If we have healthy boundaries, it helps us put change in the proper perspective. If we have unhealthy boundaries, we will be tempted to push for more change more quickly, for only then will we feel free to live within our consciences. But a healthy boundary allows us to be free to live as we see fit today, without "needing" to see an organization make changes in order to be free or content.
Another good essay at barnabasministry.com that appeals to me is "A Sober Look at Unity".