God Doesn’t Need a Conflict-Free Church

This week I’ve been asked to talk about hard conversations at a denominational conference whose theme is “Less Talk, More Action.” The irony has not escaped me.

During a week dedicated to inspiring the church to less talk, more action, I’ll be talking about talking. When the preacher tells you that God has a special plan for your life, remember the adventures He invites me into and take note. Special must mean something different in the original Hebrew!

Not only is my photo in the dictionary next to the antonym for “action,” but the featured speaker at the conference is Hercules! You know him better these days as Kevin Sorbo (Let There Be Light, God’s Not Dead, Soul Surfer actor, Kevin Sorbo). He’s so synonymous with action, he has his own action figure.

This presented me with a serious challenge and forced me to revisit some of my own personal wounds of feeling somewhat useless in the Body of Christ because I’m a person of words (as opposed to a medical missionary or someone who builds houses for the homeless or has wealth to donate.)

Through much prayer and immersion in God’s Word, He reminded me that this dichotomy between words and actions is a particularly human dilemma. God has such integrity within His Person that His Words are synonymous with His “actions.” (ie, He spoke the world into being.)

Our sin is what divorces our words from actions and makes them just “talk,” but as we are transformed by Christ, we can abandon meaningless chatter and speak light into a dark world.

Part of the ministry of our reconciliation to God through Christ is an internal reconciliation with God’s plan for us. He commands us to speak and when the genesis of our speech is our relationship with Jesus, instructed by His Word, and prompted by the Holy Spirit, our words become instrumental in building the kingdom of God.

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 says, “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

The more we become like Christ, the more often our talk lines up with our actions and actively testifies to His power.

We need to learn to be unafraid of hard conversations.

Hard conversations vary from person to person. For some, speaking loving, meaningful words is hard. Others find it hard to discuss death, disease, depression, or other difficult life situations. For some, sharing the gospel, speaking the truth about sin, or engaging in touchy topics is tricky. And almost everyone considers controversy and conflict the stuff of hard conversations.

We must embrace the freedom we have in Christ, release our fear of these conversations, and allow God to show us the opportunities that await us there.

Because the truth is that every time we, as the Body of Christ, work through conflict – whether it be marital, parent-child, congregational, work, or otherwise, we demonstrate the power of Christ in a way the world notices.

The world doesn’t need a church that is free of conflict. It needs a church that is unafraid of conflict and comfortable working through conflict because Jesus is with us.

He’s given us an open door to be the ones to whom the world turns for guidance in how to help people work through controversy and confrontation. We simply need to stop running from and avoiding every training opportunity.

When I began preparing for my talk this week, I was awash in anxiety. But, because God called me to it, I believed He would walk me through it. On my knees, facing the conflict within me, God not only prepared me to speak, He added a new measure of healing over old wounds and corrected wrong ways I think about His design and plan for me.

Christians do hard things. The world is full of challenges, but we are full of Christ. What hard thing is before you today? What opportunity has He provided for you to see Him work?

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    The Conversation

  1. I never thought as words actually being actions. At creation, God’s words were actions. I need to remember this when I sit at my laptop to write. God’s using my words to interact with the world. Thank you for encouraging me with your post.

  2. A May says:

    I am so glad that the Lord has given you words and that you are willing to use them. Maybe sometime in the future He will give you opportunity to share what those lessons about design and plan were. There is so much that so many do not understand even when there is a desire to understand.

  3. Linda says:

    Your writing reminds me of how EPIC God is. When we want to take part in this life He is asking us to take part in, God will give us an EPIC experience. I agree God gives us more than we can imagine when we take His lead and know our part as He leads. It just requires us to step into an experience, allowing Jesus to be at the center so both sides can heal, recover and thrive in what is true. It always amazes me when near death experiences bring on a transformation. How about we all die to our old ways we know are not God’s ways and allow Jesus to intercept the games we are playing with the worldly ways. Have an EPIC day!

  4. Ruby Hillier says:

    So helpful – Thanks so much – cleared some cobwebs away – Your words are important – showing me that mine are too. Ruby

  5. Sandy Clare says:

    Taking some time to put into action some of your suggestions for writing. Thank you for sharing your time, talents and insight this week. You were not just a presenter but a part of the “family”. Thank you!

  6. Jane Mackintosh says:

    Thank you, Lori, for your obedience. You blessed us beyond what you can imagine!

  7. C. J. Camenga says:

    Lori, Thank you for your eloquent & insightful commentary, balancing the theme of the Conference you mentioned above. Sometimes words (even ours!) are also deeds – which can create light and hope in someone’s life…or not.