story from the field
Submitted by Ann Weaver, Teaching the Word Minister & Coach
Whoever is patient has great understanding---
A heart at peace gives life to the body
Finding mutual understanding when relationships are conflicted brings peace to the soul and joy to the spirit.
Recently, two leaders were at odds. Busy schedules, life stresses, and ministry conundrums set the stage for misunderstandings, hurt feelings and broken communication. In the challenges of caring for others, this pair of ministry team comrades, normally stand back to back fighting in partnership with Christ to bring forth his purposes on earth as it is in heaven.
Yet in the heat of battle the enemy provoked in attempts to stifle the work of the church. Connection between these two allies was thin. Words were spoken, imaginations jumped to the worst possible conclusions, and relationship was deeply injured and at an impasse.
A cry for help came forth and the three of us sat down for an evening of learning and growing. We recognized Christ’s presence in our midst. His wisdom and care guided our hearts. Questions were asked and feelings were expressed. Guided listening offered opportunity to speak in healing rather than hurtful ways. Each leader maturely took responsibility for their part in allowing the situation to escalate and then land in ruptured trust.
There were tears. Hearts were humbled. There were aha moments. The disappointments were clarified, and the underlying emotional factors took their place front and center as tension settled and each party pursued openness in the safety of the Lord’s presence. Repentance and forgiveness were expressed.
With clear hearts, we talked through a way forward—a way to regularly touch base, a way to signal when tensions are high, a way to sense what the Holy Spirit is doing as the two serve side by side. We stressed the importance of knowing each other in an up to date way, and understanding was gained in how to approach each other when confrontation, change, or challenge is needed.
Arriving at a place of mutual understanding laid the foundation for the rebuilding of trust and the possibility of extending trust before it is earned. Trust is a critical factor as this twosome take up the work again. The experience of conflict will be a normal part of life interactions and ongoing discernment opportunities. The tools are now in place to take advantages of differences.
Understanding the enemy’s tactics and the environmental sabotage he creates to tempt toward speech and behavior that plays into his destructive forces, is key as Christ moves his purposes onward. Mutual understanding is a safeguard promoting the ability to overcome and live into fruitful, healthy relationship.