Day twenty of The Purpose Driven Life is devoted to restoring broken fellowships. Now that I have been shown the importance of community and the ways to cultivate community it seems logical that we would discuss those with whom we no longer have fellowship.
Warren provides seven biblical steps to restoring broken fellowship:
- Talk to God before talking to the person. Discussing the problem with God will make the rest of the process far more effective. Warren makes the ridiculous statement here that “most conflict is rooted in unmet needs.” He does not provide Scriptural support for that statement because there is none! The Bible is clear that human conflict is rooted in the human heart which is deceitful and wicked.
- Always take the initiative. Whether I am the offender of the offended, I need to take the first steps in reconciliation and I need to do it immediately.
- Sympathize with their feelings. I need to use my ears more than my mouth. This does not come naturally to me but is crucial. I cannot go on the offensive and make the problem worse.
- Confess my part of the conflict. I need to begin with admitting my part in the problem. This may require asking a third party to listen to the story of the conflict and providing input on where I may have been at fault.
- Attack the problem, not the person. I cannot fixate on fixing the blame on the other person. I need to be humble and gentle and remember that how I say things matters as much as what I say.
- Cooperate as much as possible. Brining peace and resolution may cost me my pride or self-centeredness but restoring fellowship is far more important than my ego.
- Emphasize reconciliation, not resolution. God expects unity, but not necessarily uniformity. I can have unity with people that do not share my views on everything. Therefore I need to focus on being united with that person and not necessarily trying to make him believe the exact same things I believe.
Warren quotes the bible twenty seven times using seven translations and paraphrases. On the whole he quotes the Bible with accuracy and within its proper context. I continue to dislike his use of The Message which has to be the least accurate paraphrase I have ever read. Or more accurately, it is the paraphrase which adds the most of the authors opinion and bias to the proper meaning of the text. Consider Matthew 5:9 which in the NASB reads, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.” The Message renders the same verse as, “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are and your place in God’s family.” The Message adds meaning to the verse that is foreign to the text.
Point to Ponder
Today’s point to ponder is “relationships are always worth restoring.” This statement is a logical deduction based on what we have learned in previous days. If God really does value people higher than anything else and He values His family especially, than I am to do the same. And if I value people then how can I remain in a state of disunity? I am to value what God values and place importance on what He says is important.
As an aside, today marks the halfway point of this forty day journey. I continue to enjoy this journey, though must admit it is starting to lose its luster. Forty days is a long commitment. I am starting to find the subject matter a bit repetitive so am hoping that changes when I start examining my third purpose in a couple of days. Still, in the final analysis I am enjoying the book and look forward to seeing what the next twenty days have in store.
Tomorrow’s topic is Protecting Your Church