I am so grateful that I have maturity on my side and that at 42 years of age I can say I care less about being right than I ever have. Don’t get me wrong. I love to be right! I have a very quick mind and my tongue is always close behind to express whatever just went through it. I have a husband who has a quick mind but refuses to let me know what is going on inside it. His need for self preservation overrides a need to express why he is right. Who is right? Am I right or is Steve? His style is different, family background is differnt, personality is different, approach to life is different…
I learnt early in our marriage if we want to be ONE, we are going to have stop comparing our personalities and styles and start looking for common ground. As long as our goal was to be right, as long as a goal was to be ourselves more than be like Christ, a long as we felt the right to express our personality and style differences more than seek unity, as long as we had pride in our heart we would never be ONE. Just because Steve didn’t express what he felt didn’t mean his heart was one with mine. Just becasue I held my tongue instead of lashing out doesn’t mean we were one. Just because Steve chose to simply agree with me doesn’t mean we were in agreement, especially if I had not allowed his truth to be heard or even acknowledged. Taking the easy road doesn’t create unity.
God has done so much in my heart to help me shift my goal to unity instead of being right and feeling heard. In the process of my obedience to God and listening to Holy Spirit, I have watched God do the work in Steve not because he has heard from God directly but because he has experienced the power of humility, selflessness and christ in me. Do you know how hard it is to have a full paragraph of the most articulate cutting and harsh response ready to fly out of your mouth and you hear the Holy Spirit tell you ‘NO don’t say it’? Don’t think for a second we have it made and it is all roses. I still have a battle with my flesh and with my right to an opinion expressed loudly and explosively but the habit of listening and obeying, of being selfless and humble and taking on the attitude of Christ has become a passionate expression of my desire to be more like Jesus. I want to be more like Jesus and that is exactly what the gospel does in us…it creates a desire yo change and grow and find freedom to express Christ in me.
I have had to evaluate my family upbringing and my way of doing relationships and ask myself many many times.. Just because that is where I came from doesn’t mean that is what God has ins toe for me and my family. just because it worked then doesn’t mean it will work now. if I am right but my relationship with Steve is compromised then am I really right? If I truly believe I am right surely I can trust God to work in Steve and I can take it to God in prayer because I know I am heard.
This scenario of our marriage is much like the church. That is why Paul uses the example of the marriage in Ephesians to helps us understand what the church should be. it can be hard to see it when elation ships in our lives are dis functional and broken. But God’s intention for my marriage is that I work constantly at being united and one with my husband. God’s intention is that the church be ONE…when we sacrifice unity because we need to feel heard or be right regardless of who it is..we provide a foothold for the enemy to come in and build, a strong hold of destruction in our midst. Paul is onto something in Philippians. He wants the gospel to be clear and our conduct to represent heaven and our relationships to look like a perfect marriage…always working towards unity.
Is may not get it right all the time and I may have to evaluate my last experiences and my past ‘church family’ background, the tools I must lay down and the way it has always worked in order to bring my heart, and soul to a place of building the church not destroying it. When I place my rights, my needs, my cravings and my happiness as the goal, unity will never happen. When I place unity as the goal, and lay down my life for the sake of a unified and whole church, I know I am being obedient to god, trusting him and allowing his power to be at work not only in me but in those I am struggling to relate to. When I am obedient and I go to him and allow me to do his work in me, he is able to do his work in them and something supernatural can happen. Where there is unity…God commands a blessing. I have found as a mum and as a pastor.. That when the is a conflict…is is easily resolved when the goal for everyone is unity and not being right. Does that mean that no one is allowed to be themselves, or express their hearts…NO. I as a mum am always listening for anything that sounds divisive and selfish. A home devised is often a home where someone is not making unity their goal. I as a mum take personal responsibility to make sure my heart’s passion is unity not being right. it’d an be the tone of voice, a mood or just hungry tummies that make for a conflict. It as a mum must listen and ask god for wisdom to discern what is causing division and help restore it. the same goes for my role as a Pastor or a leader.
I don’t want pretend unity to keep the peace I want authentic unity and to make peace happen…It as a nurture leader must look for self preservation, and opinionated expression so that the goal is not for peoel to be heard and be right but that they will see the part they play in working hard to create ONE and unity.
This month Paul is going to speak into the heart of our church and to our women about where what we each need to do to personally take responsibility for unity at hills. I as a wife can not use my family background, my hurts and my rights to justify my behaviour that is causing conflict. It may be what helps me survive but it will never help my marriage grow and thrive. our common ground is the gospel and its powerful daily work in our lives and ability to make us when when it just does not make sense.
What strategies and promises from Philippians 2 does Paul give us to help Hills Church experience the power of unity?
What is god asking me to do to play my part?
What is the hard thing that he is going to empower me to do?
Who in my world am I struggling I love and serve?
14 A wise woman builds her home,
but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.