April 25, 1992 was a defining moment in the life of this local church. The church was deeply embroiled in conflict and unable to agree on a way forward. The very future of this local congregation was in jeopardy. The elected leadership of the church requested the assistance of other area churches. A mediation team was formed. And the church agreed to abide by their recommendation.
I applaud the decision of those church leaders to solicit help. This reflected a spirit of humility. They recognized that the members of the congregation (and they themselves as leaders) were so emotionally involved that they were unable to think clearly and objectively. They needed perspective and they needed counsel. The church faced a long journey toward health and effectiveness. But that meeting was a turning point. It was a watershed moment. It was moment of clarity.
This provides a helpful reminder for us as a congregation. But I believe this account also gives us an analogy to think about our own spiritual growth and sanctification. There are times when we are so entangled in a situation that we can no longer see the issues clearly. We need an outside voice. And we need to submit ourselves to others who can see what we can’t. We can be plagued by pride and self-deception. We can be so fixated on the faults of others that we can no longer see our own. The Puritans formed “clearness committees” when facing important decisions. They asked others to help examine their motivations and thought patterns.
We should not live in isolation as churches – or as individuals. We should humble ourselves and invite people to speak truth into our lives. Of course, this is not always a pleasant process or something we gravitate toward. And it doesn’t happen automatically. Our Life Groups have been formed to help us form significant and intentional relationships with one another.
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gfes/3778592391