Summary: Discipline in the church and in the family have their similarities. Whether a conflict is with children in our family or God’s household in a church family, several principles apply.
Strong Leadership in Painful Times
1. WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Frank and Louie the cat was born with two faces, two mouths, two noses, three eyes — and lots of doubts about his future.
Now, 12 years after Marty Stevens rescued him from being euthanized because of his condition, the exotic blue-eyed rag doll cat is not only thriving, but has also made it into the 2012 edition of Guinness World Records as the longest-surviving member of a group known as Janus cats, named for a Roman god with two faces.
2. All of us have two faces at least: we have our calm, normal face, and we have our conflict face. It can be hard to submit both of these faces to demands of God’s Word, but that is what God calls us to do.
3. Have you noticed a different “you” when you are arguing with your spouse, angry at your boss, or frustrated with our elected officials?
4. Paul was a man who worked hard to keep one face, but it wasn’t easy. Yet how ever many faces he had, he submitted them to God’s Word. He proved to be the ideal model for a leader in a conflict situation in the Corinthian church, but he is also a model for us in our conflict situations.
Main Idea: Discipline in the church and in the family have their similarities. Whether a conflict is with children in our family or God’s household in a church family, several principles apply.
I. We Have a CONFRONTATION Limit (1-2)
A. Too much confrontation can BREAK your spirit
1. Dobson in “Parenting Isn’t for Cowards” about the strong-willed child
2. “Do not exasperate your children” (Eph. 6:4)
3. The same is true with relating to adults; we can only take so much whether are confront or are the confronted…
4. We have to learn to choose our fights…and when enough is too much
B. Paul needed fellowship to CHEER him, not make him bleak
1. In 2 Corinthians 11:22-28, he talks about his sufferings; he didn’t need more
2. Constant conflict like a short circuit in your wiring; drains energy puts out power.
3. Even Paul could not fix the problem quickly, it can take time
4. Traumas can take a moment, but recovery can take lifetime or never
5. We have to guard ourselves from surpassing our limit; remove selves
The first principle is We Have a CONFRONTATION Limit. The second is:
II. We Must Apply the “Come Out of Your Room When You Are HAPPY” Principle (3)
A. People have to be READY to be happy
1. When our kids were in a bad mood, we would tell them to go to their room and come out when they were ready to be happy…
2. Paul was waiting for the Corinthians to come out of their room!
3. We all get this way; I know I do. We need people in our lives who will send us to our room, figuratively.
4. When Cain’s countenance fell because God rejected his sacrifice, he was at a crossroads: adjust or become embittered. He chose the later.
5. We frequently find ourselves at such a crossroad.
6. Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott tell us that people who are generally happy in life share this one strength: the ability to adjust to what is beyond their control.
B. You can reason with reasonable minds, but it is tough to reason with those thinking EMOTIONALLY (so Paul had to wait for them to get control of themselves; sometimes I am one of those people, so are you; we all get upset and need to allow space)
C. Paul would visit when most of the Corinthians GOT OVER IT
The first principle is We Have a CONFRONTATION Limit. The second is We Must Apply the “Come Out of Your Room When You Are HAPPY” Principle. The third is
III. Discipline Is An “I Had to Hurt You Because I LOVE You” Matter (4)
A. Sometimes the one confronted feels ATTACKED
1. “Like God, Paul chastens those whom he loves” (Ben Witherington III)
2. Paul was pained, stressed and grieved when he wrote his painful letter
B. Often what passes as confrontation IS an attack
• Confrontation should not be confused with venting or blowing up
C. Paul did not enjoy having to be harsh, but he knew what they NEEDED
1. The TV Show “Family Affair.”
2. Robert Louis Stevenson, “Sooner or later in life, we all sit down to a banquet of consequences.”
3. Some of you have had to practice tough love on someone you love:
• Alcoholic or drug addict
• Physically or verbally abusive
• Compulsive gambler
• Financially irresponsible person
• A lazy person who prefers to mooch