I want you to know this next part of the story is the most important part. It is where so much clarity rests on what went wrong and what we all needed to do differently.
It is the where the Gospel meets this story.
I thought I would share a verse with you today that brings some hope into this story. God is in the business of reconciliation. No story is beyond that.
2 Corinthians 5:19 – God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. (NIV)
We are also at the place where Jane and Mark collide. Where this story seems to come full circle.
I pray by the end you will see that the only answer to the story is Jesus.
For of those you who may not be familiar it is usually customary to go to the leader of your church if you have a grievance against another member that you are having a hard time resolving.
This was certainly the case with Jane and me.
So, I decided to go to Mark for advice on this situation. Outside of the counseling situation (see my previous post, Shattered Confidence), Mark and I had a good relationship. There were many times when I sat in his office and we chatted over various theological ideas and concepts. We seemed to be in agreement on so much and it felt like the obvious solution to go to him.
I can remember vividly the day my husband and I sat down with Mark, I told him about the conflict that had occurred and my attempts to resolve it with no success. I did not to tell Mark about my suspicions of jealousy. I felt like I needed to let him sort that out for himself. Besides it is never really anyone’s place to deal with perceived motives no matter how accurate they may be.
In that meeting Mark encouraged me. He told me that he would sort things out. To give Jane time and she would come around to including me back on the team. He shared he would speak with her directly and make sure she understood that he wants ALL people included.
I felt relief after that meeting. It felt like he had my back or at least he understood where I was coming from and would help facilitate healing. He even went so far as to pull us together and ask us to resolve and include. I felt hopeful that this would take place.
Yet, as you recall from my previous post this did not happen. Jane never ever included me on anything again.
To add to this confusion, Mark was also the one who said I could hold whatever bible study I wanted. That I did not even NEED permission to do this.
So, when I kept getting emails from Jane about not having permission to hold a bible study I went to Mark.
Jane was NOT aligning with Mark’s vision. And again, Mark said he would sort it out. BUT as you recall it never sorted out. Jane never stopped sending emails. She never stopped intervening.
WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS GOING ON????
I want you to know that I should have been clued into Mark at this point. He was NOT telling Jane and I the same thing. But I did not see it.
It was incomprehensible to me that Mark would be anything other than positive. That he would not be completely for me because that was his CONSISTENT message to me.
But looking back I know now that he was CONSISTENLY for both sides. And in a story like this you cannot take that position. Especially as the leader.
You have to be able to sort through these situations in a way that brings resolution and healing. You cannot agree with both sides. And that is exactly what Mark was doing.
And when you take a position of agreement your message becomes inconsistent. You tell one person what they want to hear all while telling the other the same.
THIS CREATES CONFUSION. THIS CREATES CONFLICT.
And you leave both sides feeling justified in their positions instead of trying to help them resolve their conflict.
So, in many ways I do not blame Jane for not including me. I am certain she was never really made to feel she had to. I am positive she was told that she was justified in her position toward me.
I know I was. I was told Jane was wrong in her position. That she needed to include people and grow as a leader. He told me that he KNEW her weaknesses and was working on them with her. He made me feel like he understood my position and I believed him.
Because I wanted him, just like I wanted Jane, to believe in me. And when you desperately want others to believe in you, you believe them.
You trust them.
I want to be honest; I did not always respond well to this situation. Sometimes I met this situation with anger. Sometimes I DID gossip. Sometimes I did not respond with grace or humility.
I wish I had.
I own that part – I should have made different choices.
Yet, despite the many mistakes made this situation should not have escalated to this point. THIS honestly was NOT as big of deal as we all made it out to be.
The simplicity was people had made mistakes, forgiveness was needed, and acceptance extended.
No one really did that well. Instead, narratives were created. People were labeled and placed in certain boxes that they never recovered from.
AND this – this is not the GOSPEL.
The Gospel says I see your mistakes, yet you are forgiven. IT says I know that you are imperfect allow me to be your strength.
The GOSPEL is HOPE.
Jesus went to the cross for situations just like this. He knew we were a people destined for mistakes and sin and we had no hope. No way out.
AND the moment we all ceased to bring this situation to the foot of the cross is the moment it all went sideways.
Jesus was only answer to this situation. He was the only one who could bring light through the darkness. AND we all missed the opportunity to allow Him to shine through it.
I hope that you see today that your situation needs Jesus. No matter how messy or hopeless it might feel – Jesus is the only answer.
May you allow Him to bring His light.