Recently, our church hosted a lock-in (the youth spent the night at the church.) As you probably already know, when you get tired your filter is weaken and you are more likely to say what you are thinking. So I noticed that through the night, as the youth were becoming more tired, there are more and more conflicts. Some conflicts were started because of jokes that we taken too far. Other were rooted in how we treat people that are different from us. Some of the youth were valuing their own opinion more than the relationship with the other youth.
Now, not all of the conflicts resulted in problems, but a few of them escalate into fights and cause hurt feelings. Often the youth didn’t understand how they contributed to the situation. I know that sometimes, I don’t consider how my behavior contributes to a situation. It is easy to think that I am a victim to my circumstances. If you are a victim, then, you don’t have the power to improve the situation. I see this in the youth we serve through the church and in myself.
That is why I am thankful for books like “The Young Peace Maker” by Corlette Sande. Books can reveal a different way of thinking. Sande proposed that there are many different ways to respond to a conflict, but they all fall into one of three categories. We can escape, attack, or work-it-out. We can try to escape by running away, blame others, or being in denial, We might avoid an attack, but these methods also don’t bring resolution. When we try to attack, we put others down, gossip, or fight. These methods also don’t bring resolutions. We must do the hard thing of working it out create positive resolutions, but it is not easy.
Working-it-out is worth it.
Working it out is what Jesus did for us. Our sin was a separating us from God, and Jesus come to bring reconciliation. In fact, if I had to summarize the entire Bible into one word it would be reconciliation. The Bible is full of stories after stories about God bring His people back to Him.
Although Jesus has done the hard part, He has also called us to bring reconciliation. Reconciliation requires that we try to understand other’s perspectives. Reconciliation requires that we forgive. Reconciliation sometimes requires asking for outside help.
But reconciliation is worth the effort.
Without reconciliation, we will always be weak, because we will be divided. Together we are stronger than separate. My prayer is that our youth group will learn this fact. I also pray that my country will too. An ultimately, I really want to church to understand that if we want to change this world for Jesus, God has called us to the work of reconciliation. We need to learn that relationships are more important than being right.
2 Corinthians 5:17-19 “So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away—look, what is new has come! And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation.”
Please pray with me that our church’s youth group will learn this lesson. I would also enjoy praying this prayer in which you participate, please indicate groups that could use this lesson in the comment section below so that we can all pray together.