Skip to content

Don’t Fight at the Supper table

by on July 26, 2014

Dad and mom are busy people. They have many things to do and to worry about. They have to put food on the table and keep the roof overhead. They have to pay for braces on teeth and shoes on feet. Parenting is a consuming task. Most important is raising the children to be obedient and healthy and happy people.

Dad and Mom do not always agree. That should go without saying. But, they should not fight in front of the children. Really, they should not fight at all. They are allowed to disagree. That is normal but, they should not fight. Especially, they should not fight in front of the children.

Children need a sense of security and safety and significance. When parents fight or disagree loudly or even passively, the children lose their sense of security. The people they depend on become undependable. The people they trust lose their trust. The people they need become needy people. In short – life begins to fall apart. The world becomes a dangerous place. Life becomes threatened and the children go into self-protective mode. They begin to make their own decisions earlier than they should.

They realize that if they are to be protected they will have to do it themselves. That is not the way life is to be. Life is to be secured by those whom God has placed over us.

Church is the same way. Leaders are too busy and stretched too thin as they try diligently to provide for the flock. Shepherding is a consuming task. Sometimes the leaders do not agree. That is to be expected. But, they dare not fight in front of the flock. If and when they disagree they need to work out their differences and part ways if needed. They can take the liberty of bringing correction to each other. They should do that. But when they fight “at the supper table” they destroy the sense of security that their people need.

Are some of them right and some of them wrong? Probably. Certainly Paul and Barnabas disagreed very sharply. God used that to send the gospel two different ways. He can do that today also.

Are there times when Church leaders need to be corrected? Certainly! God sends prophets to teach truth and speak truth into the life of the Church. Paul certainly filled that role in the life of Peter. Words needed to be said and Paul said them and Peter listened. Peter’s life was changed by that and other needed corrections.

Working with youth for many years I have heard so many stories. The saddest of these are the stories of Church leader’s disagreements and Church splits. Are some splits needed? Of course, and most youth can understand that. But, when leaders fight, the damage is incalculable. The damage is not immediately apparent and so the leaders do not realize the damage they are causing. But, eventually, the damage becomes evident. Youth watch for a while in disbelief and then they slowly leave the fellowship. They leave emotionally first. This is barely noticeable. Eventually, they actually walk out. Then people ask, “What happened? What is wrong with that person?” Rarely do we ask if we, as leaders, have had a responsible part in what happened.

As on author says, “We say things go wrong in spite of what we are doing. Maybe we should say, Things go wrong because of what we are doing.”

What can we do? First of all realize the potential damage of contentions. Then realize the need to anticipate problems and deal with them in time. To allow polarization and escalation is to provide the soil for continued problems and for losing the youth.

When I write things like this people say, ‘you are talking about my church.’ No, it is just that the pattern repeats so often that it has become predictable. Some of the older people are sure that they are right so they argue and make their case and forget who they are damaging. It is happening so many places. We are forgetting who we are. We are forgetting who is the real enemy. We are forgetting that we are the Church of Jesus Christ led by His Holy Spirit.

Are there times when public shaming needs to be done? Of course. Paul says, “Those who sin rebuke before all so that others may fear.” Sometimes this is needed in cases of recalcitrant persons. It should be the exception – not the rule. And all of the quiet little “counsel meetings” held by parties of both sides are so destructive and hurtful.

How can these things be resolved? Is there not a wise man among you? Paul asks. Find those wise men and heed their counsel. God has the answers if we will listen.

Stop fighting at the supper table. It is destroying the family.
• Separate yourselves from those who walk disorderly.
• Have fellowship with those who walk in truth.

I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren?
I Corinthians 6:5

Comments are closed.