Don’t we all love confrontation? I mean I know I do. I can’t wait to get up in the morning and start confronting all the ills of society and relationships as I go throughout my day. Really, it’s my Morning Cup of Jo. For those of you who know me well, you know that this is the most outlandish of the outlandish claims I am prone to making. In fact, unfortunately I err to much to the other side. Maybe if I just ignore “the issue” it will go away. Or maybe I can “drop” subtle hints or employ others it will mend itself that way. Seriously this was/sometimes still is me.
Now the reason I say “was” is due to the fact that my amazing wife keeps me in check. The only thing she lets stew is soup. All of our cards are always on the table and our marriage is all the better for it. In fact, she once revealed to a group of ladies that we never (with the exception of about three occasions) have fights* in our marriage and they were astonished. Which I thought was kind of crazy. After all, we are best friends. And why would you fight with your best friend all the time? It really comes back to a Biblical treatment of relationships. In Matthew 18:15-17 puts it like this, “If your brother or sister sins against you, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” (On a side note, this passage includes a verse that is taken out of context more than any verse in the Bible I think, “where two or three are gathered…” It’s not about worship or prayer gatherings, but about the honest confrontation of the breakdown of healthy relationships.) But there you have it. Jesus shows us how to deal with being wronged by others…you go to them in an honest, open, and healthy fashion with the expectation of reconciliation.
The major problem I see hear is not that there is a breakdown of this mode of conflict resolution within our marriages, but that it has been modeled in the church. How can we expect our marriages to be healthy relationships when we see passive aggression becoming the mode of operand for church life. You see it all the time…this person goes over another persons head to a pastor because it’s easier to tattle; said board member rallies others to confront an issue versus joining the fray themselves; writing an email that goes all around the issue versus stating the obvious; circumventing the full life of the body by having closed room discussions…Is this really the way?
I sometimes wander how Christ would respond to our church politics and our resultant relationships that model that form. Do you think we might have some tables being turned over? Pretty sure Jesus was never passive aggressive in his relationships and aren’t we all trying to be a little more like Him.
*This was not defined as differences of opinions but rather as a breakdown in communication where someone raises their voice, calls a name or gets their feelings hurt.