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It seems to me that it is accurate to say our generation is in a relationship crisis. We have the highest divorce rate in the Western hemisphere, more couples live together than are married, absentee fathers or mothers are common, abortions that number into the hundreds of thousands year-after-year, and in 2005 Southern Baptist churches dismissed over 1300 staff members. That number does not include those who were pressured to resign. For ten years the top five reasons given for vacating the pulpit or firing another staff member has to do with relationship issues: control issues, poor people skills, resistance to change, leadership style is too strong, or the church was already in conflict when the pastor arrived. You might have thought the most common reason had to do with sexual misconduct or ethical issues, but 2005 was the first time that sexual misconduct was listed in the top ten (number nine) and ethical issues made the top 20 (number eleven). The biggest problem in our churches is not division over doctrine or morality but relationships (LifeWay survey). We don’t know how to get along or we aren’t willing to work at it.

We’ve grown up in a culture that has taught us that we are to be served rather than serve. We would rather be the head than the feet. When we remember Christ we remember he said that he came to serve and not be served, and he sacrificed for us when we least deserved it. Our God wrapped a towel around his waist and washed the filth from the feet of his disciples.

The next time you dislike someone or something in this church, bring it to the cross. Does it really diminish Jesus Christ or the cross or is it a matter of personal preference? Does it really distract from the cross or is it just an inconvenience to you and your agenda? If a church or family would live this way the joy, peace, and unity would significantly increase. Peace and unity in the church takes effort.

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