by M. Jolaine Szymkowiak

Conflict: Us vs. Them
M. Jolaine Szymkowiak
Matthew 13:24-30

Who of us has never been in a church without conflict at sometime during our lifetimes? Probably not a one of us. It seems conflict is always present. We are never satisfied even in our forms of worship. We want either contemporary or traditional services, music by hymnal or praise chorus, want church programs and then do not participate, have hurt feelings when not noticed either in attendance or no attendance, our teachers aren't teaching a curriculum we would like taught, etc., etc., etc. Why does this happen? Why is conflict such a nemesis in our churches? Why do we let it control us and we go from one conflict to another? My pastor said to me one day, "All I've done this week is put out fires." Another minister once said, "I've been draining the swamp but I haven't run out of alligators, they are all still here." What are we to do? Is this to be a continual problem?

Possibly the story of the tares among the wheat will help to explain what we are about, what happens and what we are to do about it. The word "tares" used in this scripture passage is the weed "darnel" which resembles wheat. The roots of the Darnel get entangled with the good wheat seed and cannot be torn out of the soil without tearing up the wheat.

Our pastors are to pronounce and proclaim the Truth of Christ and Him crucified. The pastor continually sows the "good seed." "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field" (verse 24). The enemy – discontent, confusion, frustration, rejection – is insidious and is a constant irritant within the congregation. This compares to "sowing tares among the wheat." When conflict comes, it is very apparent especially in a striving, thriving church. "But while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares also among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprang up and bore grain, then the tares became evident also" (vs. 25-26).

The leaders of ...

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