| Learning to Say Your ABC’s
His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither…” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” John 9:2-3
God uses conflict to stretch and challenge you in carefully tailored ways. This process is sometimes referred to as the “ABC of spiritual growth”: Adversity Builds Character. As you worry less about going through conflict and focus more on growing through conflict, you will enhance that process and experience the incomparable blessing of being conformed to the likeness of Christ.
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 37
Food for Thought
What is your first response to conflict or adversity?
You can’t be too hard on the disciples when they asked Jesus the question in the verse above; they were trying. They saw adversity–in all of it’s forms (including conflict)–as an indication of sin. To think that adversity could have indicated the presence of faith, rather than its absence, was simply unbelievable. But Jesus’ answer challenged everything they thought they knew about godliness. The man’s blindness–his adversity–had a purpose. It was about being able to speak as much as it was being able to see .
We haven’t progressed much beyond the disciples. We often still view adversities as a red flag that something is wrong. But the scriptural reality is that sometimes everything may be right–the right kind of circumstances, the right kind of people involved, or the right kind of pain to teach us the language of faith. We shouldn’t go looking for trouble, mind you–each day has enough trouble of its own, say Jesus. However, when trouble comes (and it will), how will we handle it? The ABC’s of Spiritual Growth remind us that God is intensely interested in our character, our holiness. He’s so interested that He will allow pain or adversity into our lives if it will help us to grow to become more like Him.
The ABC’s are what children learn by–how they grow in terms of speaking and listening. Those letters are combined to form words, sentences, thoughts, and questions. The adversities and conflicts we go through function in much the same way. They help us form the words and sentences of an authentic faith, so that we can then speak as a witness–someone who knows and sees.
“One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” ~ John. 9.25
2008 Peacemaker Conference – You Don’t Want to Miss It!
As we look to the 2008 Peacemaker Conference, the storms of life remind us just how much we, as the church, need to be equipped to handle the storms of life and to offer light and hope to others. By standing on the Rock of Jesus Christ, we can experience “The Power of a Peacemaking Church.”
At the conference we will explore the various spheres of life touched by storms—in our homes, in our communities, cross-culturally, and in our churches—and see how God’s Word applies in each situation. Peacemaking can be a way of life, and we can each be encouraged by the wisdom of others who have weathered many storms!
Register before August 15 to secure your place at just $289 per person! Bring a group and save even more – register 4 and the 5th is free!
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