Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

Posts tagged ‘responsibility’

Conflict Resolution 101

LadyBoxers

Mrs. Edwards and Fri. Kussin from The Library of Congress on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Who likes to argue? Who enjoys conflicts and being offended? I have met a few people in my lifetime who seem to derive perverse pleasure from getting under other people’s skin, but the vast majority of rational humans would rather avoid conflicts. Did you know that in Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus lays out His solution for resolving conflicts? This is what His prescription is:

“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” (NKJV)

There are three steps to Jesus’ plan for conflict resolution:

1. Go talk to the person directly. This is one of the hardest things to do, because it requires direct confrontation, but most often, the other person will be reasonable and the issue will be resolved. Notice, Jesus did not say to post it on Face Book, tell all your girlfriends about it, Tweet to the world or anything else besides first going alone to the person who offended you.

2. If that person refuses to take any responsibility for the offense, then you need to get another person or two as witnesses to establish the issue and both sides of the story. This should not look like an ambush or attack, but rather a calm meeting in which the issue at hand is discussed and documented.

3. If the offender still refuses to apologize or accept responsibility, then you need to take it to your church leadership; provided that other person is a Christian or at least accepts the authority of the church. If she still won’t back down, Jesus says to treat her as an unbeliever.

This is where it gets interesting because traditionally, unbelievers, tax collectors and heathens were banned from the church, treated as second class citizens and shunned by church people. Step back and think about this. With whom did Jesus hang out with much of the time while He walked the earth? Heathens and tax collectors. What He was trying to tell us from His example was that we need to show love and compassion for those who offend us as lost sheep who need to come to repentance.

I know this is a hard thing to do, but if we resolve issues Jesus’ way, we may find that we have way more friends and a better understanding of one another!

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to three boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside. Lisa is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon. 

Ezekiel’s Burden

Ezekiel_Tapestry2x

Ezekiel prophet’s wall photo by Peter2010 on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Think of the least popular political figure you can imagine. Now imagine that you are picked up by alien-like creatures and brought to this leader who proceeds to tell you that you now have a new job working for him and here are the details of the job:

• You will be the spokesperson for this unpopular ruler
• You have to literally eat his words in the form of a honey-flavored scroll
• The people will not listen to you
• The people will tie you up and you will be so thirsty that your tongue will stick to the roof of your mouth, but when He tells you to speak, you will speak.
• Despite the mistreatment of the people, you must not be afraid of them
• If you don’t speak up to the people when your boss tells you, you will be responsible for their very lives. If they die, you will be personally responsible for their lost souls.
• You will make a model of a city under siege and then lay on your left side next to it for 390 days
• During that time, you will not be able to move off your side
• You will bake you bread over a fire fueled by human waste
• After the 390 days have passed, you will lay on your right side for another 40 days
• Then you will shave your head and burn part of the hair for all to see, throw part of it into the air and slice it up with a sword and tie some of the hair onto your clothes. For all to see.

Mind-blowing; those are the words that come to mind when I read the opening chapters of the book of Ezekiel. If this had been me, I would already have been looking for someone to take my place, or perhaps a place to hide (although he probably knew what happened when Jonah tried that).

God will never tell us to do anything for which He has not equipped us, but will require us to faithfully obey; not knowing everything there is to know about our assignment. Ezekiel was a devout Jewish priest who was taken out of Israel during the Babylonian captivity. His only objection to the terms of his service was about using human waste to bake his bread. On this, God allowed him to use cattle dung instead. Now, that’s commitment!

Do we feel any kind of personal responsibility for the lost souls with whom we come into contact each day? God told Ezekiel to share God’s message even if the people would not listen and the same is true today. Our job is to tell people about Jesus; it is the work of His Holy Spirit that does the saving. Understanding our part of the work should give us the freedom to share the Gospel much more freely.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to three boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside. Lisa is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon. 

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