Church Conflict – No Yoke!
On the morning of November 2, 1987, the following scripture passage was displayed on the Sans Souci Baptist Church of Greenville sign marquee: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 1:28. I will never forget the feeling as I read the sign – two hours prior I stood by the bedside of my dad as he passed away. The passage gave me peace that dad was no longer weary and tired from cancer, and that I had someone that would give me rest too. A church sign was comforting and very much appreciated at the time and this verse has also been special.
Verse 28 of Matthew 11 begins with “Come to me”, a directive that we need to bring our burdens to Him – bring our burdens to Jesus. Verse 29 paints a continuing picture that Jesus will carry the yoke – the burden of the yoke for us – but we must come to Him and learn from Him. Verse 30 says “His yoke is easy and my burden is light” – that means our yoke is heavier (without Him) and we should call upon Him for help.
When church conflict takes place, this writer has noticed that most pastors or other church leaders tend to place the yoke on themselves rather than of Jesus. Those caught up in the conflict would rather shoulder that load of guilt, as martyr and official “yoke carrier” and try to weather the storm on their own. I have seen experience after experience of this, and eventually the yoke was too heavy to bear themselves and they broke under the strain – physically and spiritually.
Church conflict seems to always assemble feelings for Assertive Behavior and Supportive Behavior. There is always a “my goal” or a “your goal”. With these emotions comes a reaction of competition, collaboration, compromise, avoidance or accommodation. Every player in the conflict has a strength or weakness of the five emotions.
Church Conflict – No Yoke! – means we as church people need to take the yoke of dispute from ourselves – know we are incapable of adequately solving the conflict ourselves and give it to Jesus.
The irony of church conflict has always been – the church or its leadership took its yoke off of Jesus, took its focus and vision off of Jesus and created their conflict! Conflict is always a result of NOT focusing on Jesus.
Part of the earthly solution to conflict is to get help to focus BACK on Jesus. Conflict Mediation is a means this writer is certain can help churches refocus.
“Come to me”, an important directive. Why are we so reluctant to go to Him first? Why are we so “yoke bound” to stray from Him? When there is church conflict – place your yoke on Him!