Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How to Forgive

This Sunday was our last FUSION Gathering meeting until school starts back in August!  Crazy how time flies so quickly.

This Sunday was all about forgiveness.  Forgiveness is difficult!  Sometimes, it even seems impossible.  But, God calls us to forgive and Jesus often teaches on forgiveness throughout Scripture.  When we look at Luke 17:1-4, we see a few important things about forgiveness.  First, we see that sin (unfortunately) is a part of life.  God asks us to try to stay away from sinning, but inevitably we mess up sometimes.  We also see in this passage in Luke that when someone sins against us, we are supposed to rebuke them!  Call your friend or family member out on what they have done, because sometimes we hurt someone without even realizing it.  Now this doesn't mean you have to yell at the person or be disrespectful.  It simply means you need to let that person know that you are hurt by what they did.  Next we learn that after making the sin known, we hope and pray for repentance...that the person will understand and feel sorry for what they have done.  And with that repentance comes forgiveness.  And we learn here in Luke that no matter how many times someone sins against us...no matter how much we get frustrated...God calls us to forgive that person every time!

In response we each thought of someone we need to forgive.  We took a piece of yarn and tied it around our wrists like a bracelet.  Knowing that sometimes it can take a while to forgive someone, we are each challenged to keep that bracelet on until we are able to fully forgive that person.  Who is it you need to forgive?  Comment on this post with your responses.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How to Resolve Conflict

This week we took a look at how we can resolve conflict in healthy ways.  We started with looking at a video in which a guy and a girl deal with conflict in various unhealthy ways...explosion, transference, breakdown, internalization, etc.  These are all things we've done before when dealing with conflict.  Obviously conflict can't always be avoided.  But when it does arise, we need a plan for handling it in appropriate ways.

As an initial guideline, we took a look at Acts 6:1-7 where the early church was having issues with some of it's members getting left out in the distribution of resources.  In this story, we see that the Disciples took the time to first identify the issue or conflict at hand.  Then they spent time assessing the priorities at hand. The Disciples knew that this conflict needed to be resolved, but they also knew that their current priorities were to pray and perform the ministry of God's word.  So that brought them to the next step of figuring out the solution and acting on it.  Here they decided the best solution would be to appoint seven people who were wise and strong in their faith to be the sort of mediators to help fix the conflict at hand within the church.  That way the Disciples were able to continue their ministry, but the conflict was being taken care of appropriately and by people the church respected and would listen to.

This story from Acts helps us get a handle on the steps we need to take when conflict arises.  Together we also took a look at several tips for resolving conflict in our own lives.  We learned things like making sure we confront conflicts as soon as possible and stick to the subject at hand rather than trying to bring other situations into the argument to try to "win" our case.  We should confront people privately and make sure to express real feelings while demonstrating unconditional love.  We should seek to understand the other person which involves listening, not just talking.  We should be specific and avoid generalizations, and we should confront to heal, not to win!  It's possible that a conflict may end in the two parties agreeing to disagree like Paul and Barnabas when they argued with each other over the next step in their missionary journey (Acts 15:36-41).  That is okay!  What is important is how we treat each other in the midst of conflict and trying to resolve it.  How do you tend to react in situations of conflict?  Try to remember these tips this week and focus on ways you can handle conflict in healthy and appropriate ways that are pleasing to God!

After our conversation we played our favorite game, Gorgon!  Don't forget NEXT SUNDAY we will have a movie night as we watch "Wesley: A Heart Transformed Can Change the World".  Plan to stay until 8pm rather than our regular 7:30pm ending time.  We will have pizza, veggies and dessert!