Fifth in a series: Rick Warren (from The Purpose-Driven Life) and me on church...
"Here are seven biblical steps to restoring fellowship:
Talk to God before talking to the person.
Always take the initiative.
Sympathize with their feeling.
Confess my part of the conflict.
Attack the problem, not the person.
Cooperate as much as possible.
Emphasize reconciliation, not resolution." - In other words, the relationship is far more important than the issue at hand.
"The Trinity is unified and God wants us to be unified, too. Our heavenly Father, like every parent, enjoys watching his children get along with each other. Jesus, in his final moments before being arrested, prayed passionately for our unity. And the Holy Spirit is the one who unites us in love." - So, if I find myself saying something that emphasizes any disunity, I should stop talking. Rather than point out bones of contention, I should focus on the strengths.
"Nothing is more valuable to God than his church. He paid the highest price for it, and it is worth protecting. Part of your responsibility as a believer is to protect the unity where you fellowship. You need to think of yourself as an agent of unity, commissioned by Jesus Christ to promote and preserve the fellowship among believers." - Wow! Imagine what a church would be like if every member saw it as his/her priority to promote and preserve unity. [As it is, most of us just want a church that "meets my needs." Hmm...kind of like the difference between infatuation and love.]
Truth is..."Sometimes you'll have to do what's best for the body, not yourself, showing preference to others. That's one reason God puts us in a church family - to learn unselfishness."