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Summary: How to handle conflict. Main scripture and exposition is not addresssed until the 1/3 of the way through the messaage. Expanded outline

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DEALING WITH OUR BROTHERS

This past week, I had to kill a chicken. I was not happy about the situation, and Drew was even more upset.

Tuesday I went out to our chicken pen to let the chickens out. Usually, all of them except some hens that might be trying to lay an egg at the time run out as soon as I open the door. This time, I noticed a rooster that was not running out. As a matter of fact, he was barely moving at all. I found him kind of slumped over in the chicken house, acting like he was having trouble walking. I took him out of them pen, set him up with feed and water near by, and went to a meeting I had. Later in the day, Gladys called and said he was not doing any better and that Drew was upset.

When I got home, I saw that he was still sick and that others were messing with him, so I put him to sleep so that he would not suffer and so that whatever he had would not spread.

Now, several things bothered me about this incident. First, this bothered me because this rooster was a beautiful bird and we didn’t want to lose him. Second, it bothered me because we had raised his parents and he was one of the first chicks hatched out on our place. Third, it bothered me because of all of the effort we had made in an unsuccessful attempt to protect him.

When we built that pen we knew there were animals in the area that would do everything they could to kill our chickens. We have raccoons, fox and other animals in the area that will kill and eat our chickens and eggs if we give them the opportunity so when we built the pen we dug a trench all the way around the pen and buried the wire deep in the ground so nothing could dig in. We put wire over the top so no hawks could get in and kill the young ones. We put a gate on one end that we raise and fasten each night, after the chickens are in, so nothing can get in to them. Yet, in spite of all of our precautions against outside predators, something from the inside made our bird sick to the point where he was unable to function.

I am afraid that this is too similar to what we often see happen in the church. How often do we look around at the world and we see the ungodliness, violence and false teachings the world so easily embraces and do all we can to build defenses against those things and try to keep them from getting into the church and from getting to our children while often ignoring things going on right within the church which often have just as much opportunity to injure us. One of those illnesses of the inside, one of those diseases of destruction that we often ignore and overlook at great peril to ourselves and the church is in the area of conflict, or disagreements between brothers and sisters in Christ, between friends and family members, between soldiers of the same side, and this conflict, addressed incorrectly, can tear us apart.

Please understand, in this life, in this church, among friends and in families, there will be disagreements. We see conflict or disagreements come for many different reasons.

I. REASONS FOR CONFLICT

1. We can have conflict because of Misunderstandings

- Joshua 22:10-34

The Eastern tribes simply wanted to erect a monument to remind themselves and future generations that they were still part of the nation of Israel, that they worshipped the same God as the western tribes, and that they were all part of the same family sharing the same inheritance.

The western tribes got upset because they thought their eastern brothers were trying to worship the wrong god or that they were worshipping in a way that was inappropriate and would bring God’s wrath and judgment on them all.

Nobody was right. Nobody was wrong. It was a simple misunderstanding.

2. We can have conflict because of differences in priorities, goals, expectations, interests or opinions.

- Acts 15:36-39

We can’t trust him because of past experiences with him. Vs. I think he has grown and learned since then and we need to give him another chance.

3. We can have conflict because of competition over limited resources.

- Genesis 13:1-12

Lot and Abram’s servants having trouble because their flocks and herds were growing and there was a limited amount of grass, water, and room for them all.

It wasn’t a bad thing. God was blessing them both. God was increasing them both, but there was only so much room and resources to go around.

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