My wife and I are foster parents. I recently realized that after raising our own daughters and serving as a preacher for twenty years, I might have a chance of handling one of the most challenging aspects of such a position.
How can we help blend a group of unrelated young girls into a family? Girls are constantly shifting, building and destroying alliances. Hurts simmer and perceived slights rage. The battlefield can be very complicated.
But before we shake our heads, let’s admit that this isn’t dissimilar to what happens with adults. Children will say aloud what adults will only whisper. While kid fights are waged above the surface, adult attacks are more subtle.
Adults build armies and wage wars just like their younger counterparts. Except adults have more powerful weapons and costlier consequences. Immaturity doesn’t only come in small bodies and pettiness is alive and well outside of the playground.
Fussing and fighting can be done by mommies and daddies just as well.
Jesus built his church (Matthew 16:18-19) to be a force for spiritual good throughout the entire world (Matthew 28:18-20). Moreover, we must be unified and committed to the same spiritual goals (1 Corinthians 1:10; Ephesians 4:1-6).
But unity can’t occur without maturity. The transformation of the gospel should help us attain that goal (Romans 12:1-2), but we must be willing to say no to self (1 Peter 4:2). Brethren, let’s love one another and elevate Christ in our lives (1 John 4).
Congregations are indeed torn apart by spiritual problems (Galatians 1:6-9). However, the vast majority of conflicts occur when we allow our behavior to be controlled by our fleshly instincts.
We have to put the Lord’s work above our own (James 4:10) and serve completely at his mercy (John 13:16). God knew we would have differences (Ephesians 2:11-18). However, we should give spiritual goals the greater weight.
Children fight because they’re immature and they lack the coping and relationship skills that they will hopefully learn as they grow. Their actions are understandable. But adults don’t have that cover. When we fuss and fight, it’s pathetic and sinful. We have no excuse.
We must give children a chance to grow but it’s hard for them to do so when we act just like them.