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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
(Part 58)

CONFLICTS AMONG LEADERS

September 8, 2013
On the birthday of Mama Mary


There are many continuing conflicts throughout our worldwide family of CFC-FFL. On the verge of massive work according to the call to the New Evangelization, we, especially the leaders, must be united. There must be peace in the body. We are our worst enemy, but since there is only one enemy, Satan, we must strive not to become the enemy within.

I therefore pass this on to you, something I wrote to selected leaders last February. Some top leaders have urged me to share this with you all. I now ask that you take this up as the topic for one of your household meetings, the sooner the better.

God bless you all.

* * *

Why are the greatest disagreements in community between those who claim they only want to serve the Lord and do what is right? Why is it that the greatest conflicts come from leaders in Christian community? Why is love, that is the hallmark of a Christian, the first that seemingly is discarded when there is a conflict? Christian leaders should know better. Unfortunately, many do not.

I propose the following principles for one faced with challenging choices, hurtful words, unfair judgment, unjust actions, and perceived wrong decisions in community.

(1) It is God's work, not yours.
"Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who causes the growth." (1 Cor 3:7)

Well, OK, the work has been entrusted to you as God's co-workers. But at the end of the day, it is all about what God wants to accomplish in the world. Do not act as if God's work can only happen with your persistent or insistent intervention. Is God not capable of touching the minds and hearts of others? Does God not have absolute control of life's circumstances?

(2) You don't fully know the mind of God; so be humble.
"For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor?" (Rom 11:34)

OK, you prayed about it, and are convinced what you say is what God wants. But why is it that other top leaders, whom we presume are all prayerful people, do not agree? Does God give different instructions to different people? If you are insistent, then you are haughty, as you are claiming that you are right and the others are wrong.

(3) The other person is not your enemy; only the devil is.
"Do not regard him as an enemy but admonish him as a brother." (2 Thes 3:15).

Here is the truth: your brethren are God's gift to you. Yes, even when they become pains in your neck. You are co-workers. God's design is for you and them to work as one. You are to work with them and not against them. The only enemy is the devil. Even your difficulties with your brethren are in accordance with God's plan, for everyone's good.

(4) God wants you to love your "enemy."
"But rather, love your enemies and do good to them" (Lk 6:35a)

OK, assuming you look on the other person as your "enemy," you are specifically called as a Christian to love him. It is easy to love those who are nice and who agree with you, right? No challenge in that. But for growth in holiness and Christian perfection, you are to love those difficult to love. It is your special privilege to be challenged to love in this way. So be and do good to them.

(5) God wants you to embrace your cross.
"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Lk 9:23)

You are a disciple, and so you are to follow Jesus. When you do, it goes nowhere else but to the cross. How can you take up your cross daily? There are your spouse, your loved ones, and your fellow leaders. They are God's gifts to you so that you can grow in discipleship! And the sooner you appreciate and embrace your crosses, the sooner they can stop being your crosses.

(6) God wants you to look not at the other person's perceived shortcomings, but on your own.
"Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves." (Phil 2:3)

You think you're so great, but you are not. You think you're so right, but you probably are not. You think God has spoken to you and now you have to insist, but you could be wrong. When you get into a tiff, you begin to enumerate what the other person's errors are. That is an error in itself. What you need to do is to re-examine yourself, with a very critical eye.

(7) Don't get hurt so easily; you are still far from being physically crucified.
"In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood." (Heb 12:4)

Things don't go your way, and you feel sorry about yourself. You then lie low or fade away. What? For a few hurting words? For hurt pride? God designed you, as with all Christians, to be a martyr. Do not cheapen that privilege. Do not go whining to the Father. Accepts things like a man (or a woman), and carry on with the work.

(8) When the going gets really tough, just cling to Christ.
"What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?" (Rom 8:35).

Jesus loved you so much that he suffered and died for you. How much do you love him in turn? Only when the going gets good? Only when you get your way? Don't you still get it? Jesus loves you in a special way when you suffer for him. It is your special privilege to suffer for him. You should go thank your opponent when he causes you to suffer!

(9) Give in, but don't give up.
"But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved." (Mt 24:13)

Be ready and willing to give way, to give in on your insistence. But never ever give up on the Lord, on your opponent, on community, or on the work. Never throw up your hands in frustrated resignation, but keep holding up your hands in worship. This temporary setback for you will be a distant memory in a short while, but the work and our life together continues.

(10) God makes straight crooked lines.
"I will turn darkness into light before them, and make crooked ways straight." (Is 42:16b)

Finally, OK you still insist you are right and the others wrong. But don't foment a greater disunity by persistent insistence. Know that even if the decision is actually not right, if only there remains love and loyalty to each other, then God will be the one to work things out. He brings victory out of defeat, strength out of weakness, and glory out of ignominy.

Now if you are reading all this and saying to yourself, "Yes, I hope the other person learns something," you have missed the lesson entirely. Read it again prayerfully, and know that it refers to YOU.

So continue to discuss disagreements, with respect and fraternal love. Know that there will be tensions, but we (and the Lord) will only lose out if these lead to tearing down each other. We also have a process of bringing an unsettled disagreement up the pastoral structure. With this process, be mindful of the ten principles above. Then leave everything up to God, knowing that He makes all things beautiful in His time.

God bless you all. God bless CFC-FFL.

frank

"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Phil 1:21)

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