May 14, 2019

From Conflict to Connection

“… if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ does, then we have wonderful fellowship and joy with each other, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin.” 1 John 1:7 (TLB)

To turn our conflicts into deeper connections instead of disconnecting and distancing our relationships we need to know the difference between a fight and a fellowship. What is a fellowship? Maybe you’ve heard the simple answer: “A fellowship is two people in the same ship.” I like to look at a fellowship as two people on the same side of a struggle. You know what they call two people on the opposite side of a struggle? A Fight! (or Democrats and Republicans) I hoped you laughed at that! It was a joke….lighten up already!

Seriously though, when you are convinced the other person is wrong and you are right it’s easy to lose your fellowship with them and your joy in the relationship. But, what do you value more – your opinion or your relationship? Learn to fight for the relationship instead of with one another. How do you do that? Get on the same side of the struggle. Your real enemy is not your spouse or friend. The Bible says we don’t wrestle with flesh and blood. Our real enemy is the world, the flesh and the devil.

So, how do you maintain fellowship when you’re in a conflict? In 1 John 1:7, an aging apostle offers some wise counsel to those to whom he wrote this letter that we will benefit from as well. If we want to have wonderful fellowship and joy with each other, John says we must live in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ does. Do you practice the presence of God in your life? How consciously aware are you that, as a Christ follower, Jesus came by the Holy Spirit to indwell you 24/7? He promised never to leave us or forsake us. He said,

“I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20 TLB)

As we cultivate the presence of God, His Spirit enables us to experience fellowship and joy with others. That fellowship and joy flows out of a common denominator. It’s not that we agree on everything but that we are both sinners in need of forgiveness. What enables us to have wonderful fellowship and joy with one another is the fact that the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us (both of us) from every sin. We may not connect in agreement on every issue, but we find our deepest connection in Christ and the blood He shed that our faults, failures and sins could be forgiven. His sacrifice builds the bridge that reconciles our lives with God and one another.

If you find yourself out of fellowship with others, ask yourself if you are walking in the light of God’s presence as Christ does. What portion of the conflict do you need to own and confess? Then, celebrate the joy of forgiveness and get on the same side of the struggle.

A great place to develop close fellowship is with other Christ followers in a local church family. God designed us to live in community. If you’re not already connected to a community of faith, check out our Membership Class this Sunday at any one of our three campuses and register now to join us for a free lunch.