JUST MEET AND TALK
Here in the Philippines, one of the ministries that I am involved in is church planting. There is one, somewhat unique aspect of the churches that we help start. The churches that we help start all have church covenants. A church covenant is basically an agreement between church members and God and church members and themselves. The principles in the church covenant are all based on Bible teachings. People commit to the covenant principles when they enter the membership of the church. In years past, many churches in the USA used church covenants. I know there are some churches in the Dodge County area which still have church covenants posted on the wall of the church building. Church covenants are a useful tool to help church members understand their responsibilities in being part of the church.
The following is one of the items listed in the church covenant that we have in the Philippines: “I commit to seeking to maintain unity within the church. In order to maintain unity, I realize the importance of clear communication. If I have a problem with another member of the church, I will go and talk with that person about the problem. I will do this in a nice and gentle manner. I will not harbor hard feelings in my heart against another brother or sister in the Lord.”
Simple put, this is a commitment to “just meet and talk” with a person if you have a conflict with them. Don’t stay mad with them. Don’t harbor ill feelings in your heart. Don’t avoid the person. Don’t go and “talk about the person” behind their back. Don’t move to another church. Don’t just stay at home so that you won’t see the person. Simply go talk with them and fix the problem. It is a pretty simple thing to do.
Yet, in spite of its simplicity; folks have a hard time with this concept. It seems that it is much easier to just stay mad with a person and to have a gap in the relationship than to go and talk with them. Over the years, I have seen one problem after the other that is related to a failure to “just meet and talk.”
As a pastor/missionary I have found myself often in the position of getting people to just go and talk. Just a few days ago we had some major relationship issues in one of our churches. After a period of “chaos,” I was able to get everyone together (12 people!) and we talked and talked and talked for about 3 hours! It was a tense time at first, but when we finished talking, the situation was much better and relationships had been restored. That is what happens when people humble themselves and just meet and talk.
I can just about guarantee it that there are some folks reading this column right now who need to “just meet and talk” with someone else. You have a broken relationship or a gap in a relationship with another Christian friend. You might have had that problem for a long time. Why wait around any longer to fix it? Just go and talk with the person now. Take some action and reconcile with your friend. Just meet and talk! If we would learn to just meet and talk, we would save ourselves a lot of hardship and pain. Amen!