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EP. 194 Confronting Toxic Traits in the Church

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Conflict is a natural part of any family, and the Church, as the body of Christ, is no exception. However, the way in which conflict is handled can determine its outcome. Understanding the difference between healthy and unhealthy conflict is crucial for maintaining unity and resolving issues effectively.

Healthy conflict is characterized by mutual respect, equal power dynamics, and active participation in resolving disputes. It involves open and safe communication, encouraging all parties involved to share their perspectives and seek resolution in a constructive manner.

Unhealthy conflict arises when personal zeal and selfish ambition drive irretractable divisions. When pastors or church leaders are motivated by a desire to outshine others or compete with neighboring congregations, they lose sight of their calling. Rather than seeking personal glory, leaders should focus on planting seeds, nurturing growth, and leaving the rest to God.

Toxic traits can infiltrate churches, hindering their spiritual growth and well-being. By recognizing these behaviors, we can work toward eliminating them and cultivating healthier church dynamics.

Misuse of Old Testament Law: Some churches succumb to the temptation of employing the Old Testament Law to control the behavior of New Testament believers. This legalistic approach stifles spiritual growth and eclipses the message of grace and redemption found in Christ's work on the cross.

Overbearing Leadership: When church leaders adopt authoritarian or bullying tendencies instead of embracing their role as compassionate shepherds, an environment of fear and mistrust takes hold. Healthy leadership involves nurturing, guiding, and uplifting the congregation with humility and love.

Double Standards: In churches where leaders adhere to lower moral standards while imposing stricter codes on their members, division and resentment fester. Church leadership should exemplify unwavering integrity, consistently upholding the moral principles they teach.

Mixing Biblical Truth with Partisan Politics: Church leaders must prioritize the transformation of their members' hearts over aligning the church with partisan political agendas. While moral issues warrant proper attention, churches should refrain from becoming embroiled in divisive political debates, focusing instead on unity and spiritual growth.

Selective Accountability: When churches fail to adequately address gossip and division while harshly condemning other sins, hypocrisy and judgmentalism prevail. Leaders should strive for unwavering consistency in addressing all forms of sin, promoting love, forgiveness, and restoration.

Monetary Hierarchy: Establishing hierarchies based on monetary contributions within the church undermines the principle of equality within the body of Christ. Each member deserves unwavering respect and value, irrespective of their financial capacity. James 2:1-4 says, "My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, 'Here's a good seat for you,' but say to the poor man, 'You stand there' or 'Sit on the floor by my feet,' have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?"

In conclusion, conflict within the Church is an inevitable reality, but how it is managed determines its impact. Understanding the distinction between healthy and unhealthy conflict is vital for maintaining unity and resolving issues effectively.In the next episode, we will delve into potential solutions to these problems, exploring how churches can address and overcome these issues to foster healthier dynamics, promote unity, and focus on the core principles of love, grace, and spiritual growth within the body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:3 "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."

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