Friday, 26 February 2021
“Not one of us”
Prathab V

Mark 9:38 (NIV)
“Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”

It was a very difficult dinner. As time wore on, I was getting stressed. Although I knew it will be a difficult dinner session, it was a conversation that was long overdue. There I was, seated in the restaurant, with two of my brothers in Christ from a sister church in another location. They were both top leaders of their respective congregations.

Although we were under the same local church leadership, the relationship between the two churches was nothing less than fractious. In the past, there had been several attempts by the two churches to break free and become independent. But, as the Lord would have it, previous attempts to separate had been futile. The “independence motion” to go separate ways had been defeated via a congregational vote in past church meetings.

The church was divided. The futile attempts to separate has led both the churches to question if the other side is indeed “one of us”. Keeping all this in mind, dinner that evening was surely not one that I was looking forward to.

“Brothers…,” I began to speak. “before we go on with dinner, can I just ask something? I know we have many issues between us. We have trust issues. We don’t get along. We dislike each other. Despite that, I humbly request that we try to talk to one another. Let us not listen to others. Instead, let us listen to one another. Let us seek to understand one another by what we say, not by what others are saying about us. If there was any doubt or rumour that needs to be cleared, may I suggest that we call each other to clarify it first before we speak to others? I pray that we can build trust and tear down the walls of distrust.”
Then, trust between the churches was probably at its all-time low. But both the leaders agreed to rebuild trust once again.

Remarkably, as the evening wore on, the difficult dinner start became warmer. By the time I had my last bowl of soup, all three of us agreed that we should talk more often and seek resolve issues via discussion rather than through argument. It was a major relief to me!

That day, I went home praising the Lord that He will complete the work that He had begun. After all, we are merely tools in His Hands.

In the ensuing days, the Lord impressed upon me to embrace my two brothers in love. Though initially, it began as an awkward relationship, the Lord led the way. I was amazed at how the fellowship blossomed. Yes, we did have some difficult conversations and had many stressful moments. But deep down, it was the Lord who was in charge.

The churches eventually separated peacefully through a vote within nine months. Little did I realise then that the Lord had prepared a nine months gestation period for our friendship to blossom.

Within a month of the separation between the churches, I resigned from my leadership position. My job was done. I needed to do the Lord’s work elsewhere.

As I recall those times, it was mostly a humbling time for me. I had to stand my ground several times. I had difficult arguments. I wasn’t willing to compromise on principles of truth. But the conversation we had at that dinner table on that first meeting, pushed me onwards. Though initially seen by many as “not one of us”, I slowly saw them as “one of us”.

I realised that my two fellow leaders also loved the Lord. I saw my wretched state and began to love them more. They have become “one of us”.

The Lord taught me many lessons, mostly in teaching me to see others better than me. I pray that we can commit differences of opinion to the Lord and let Lord Jesus handle it. Let us obey the Lord and belligerently love others, by putting others first.

Prayer:

Lord, please forgive me when I think I am better than others. Teach me to see the world from your viewpoint and to love others the way You love them. In Jesus’ name I ask, AMEN.

星期五,2021年2月26日
标题:“不是我们中的一员”
作者:帕拉他伯(Prathab V)
翻译:陈月妃

马可福音9:38

约翰对耶稣说、夫子、我们看见一个人、奉你的名赶鬼、我们就禁止他、因为他不跟从我们。

那是一顿非常难熬的晚餐。随着时间的流逝,我的压力越来越大。虽然我知道这将是一个难熬的晚餐会议,但这是一个早就该进行的对话。我在那里,坐在餐厅里,和我的两个从其他姐妹堂点到来的主内弟兄。他们俩都是各自教会的最高领袖。

虽然我们同属一个地方教会的领导,但这两间教会之间的关系却非常不稳定。过去,这两间教会曾多次试图挣脱束缚,争取自治。但是,正如上帝所定意的,先前的分离尝试并未能奏效。在过去的教会会议上,通过会众投票,要求分道扬镳的“自治动议”也被否决。

教会分裂了。未能奏效的试图自治也导致这两间教会彼此质疑对方是否真的是“我们中的一员”。当我的脑海想起这一切时,那天晚上的晚餐肯定不是我所期待的。

“弟兄们……”我开始说话。“在我们继续吃饭之前,我能问个问题吗?我知道我们之间有很多问题。我们有信任问题。我们不能和睦相处。我们不喜欢对方。尽管如此,我还是谦虚地请求我们试着互相交谈。我们不要听别人的。相反,让我们彼此倾听。让我们设法通过我们所说的来寻求相互理解,而不是通过别人对我们所说的。若是有任何需要澄清的疑问或谣言,我是否可以建议我们在与他人谈论之前,先彼此打电话求证?我祈祷我们能建立信任,拆毁不信任之墙。”

那时候,这两间教会之间的信任度可能正处于历史最低点。但两位领导人都同意再次重建信任。

出乎意料的是,随着时间的流逝,难熬的晚餐开始变得更加温馨。当我喝完最后一碗汤的时候,我们三个都同意我们应该多交流,并通过讨论而不是通过争论来解决问题。这让我重重地松了一口气!

那一天,我回家赞美耶和华说,祂必成就祂所开始的工作。要知道,我们只是祂手中的器皿。

在接下来的日子里,上帝让我牢记,我要用爱怀抱我的两个弟兄。虽然一开始,这是一段尴尬的关系,但上帝引领了这段关系。我对这段友谊的发展感到惊讶。是的,我们确实经历过一些艰难的谈话,也有过很多紧张的时刻。但实际上,上帝是掌管一切的。

教会最终在九个月内通过投票和平分离。那时我还没有意识到上帝已经为我们的友谊准备了九个月的孕育期。

两间教会分开后不到一个月,我就辞去了领导职务。我的工作完成了。我需要在别处做上帝的工作。

当我回忆起那些时候,对我来说,那真是一段卑微的时光。我不得不经常坚持我的立场。我争论得很激烈。我不愿意在真理原则上妥协。但我们在那张餐桌上第一次见面时的谈话使我向前迈进了一步。虽然最初被许多人视为“不是我们中的一员”,但我慢慢地将他们视为“我们中的一员”。

我意识到我的两位领导人也爱主。我看到了自己的苦况,就开始更加爱他们。他们已经成为“我们中的一员”。

上帝教了我很多功课,主要是教我看别人比自己好。我祈祷我们能把不同的意见交给主,让主耶稣来处理。让我们顺服主,好好地爱别人,把别人放在第一位。

祈祷:

主啊,当我觉得自己比别人强的时候,请赦免我。教我从你的观点看世界,用你爱别人的方式去爱别人。我奉耶稣的名求,阿门。