Fierce ConversationsJon Burgess
“Moses then asked them what had happened to the goat of the sin offering. When he discovered it had been burned up, he became very angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s remaining sons.” Leviticus 10:16
In our journal reading from both yesterday and today we are given amazing examples of conflict resolution. The tension is high as two of Aaron's sons have already died due to disobedience. Moses is coming down like a hammer on any deviation from God's instructions as he should. Aaron steps in to defend his two remaining sons and to explain the heart behind why they had not eaten the meat and had instead burned it up. They were taking ownership for the sin in their own family. If I had been Aaron I would have been highly defensive. He had just lost two sons and now Moses is attacking his other two sons. Instead, he had a very tense but very clear conversation that honored both Moses and the Lord. What could have resulted in a massive division in leadership became a point a point of unity: "And when Moses heard this, he was satisfied."(vs 20)
In her fantastic book "Fierce Conversations", Susan Scott defines fierce conversations as helping us "get at the ground truth of ourselves and others and helping us act with courage, compassion, and confidence." This is the kind of straight talk we see here in Leviticus. It's the kind of tense but needful conversation we read about yesterday in Acts 15 that led to the future growth of the Gentile church. Later on Paul and Barnabas had a fierce conversation over the use of John Mark that led to them splitting up the ministry and going their separate ways. Though this could be perceived as a failure to communicate it's actually quite the opposite. There were twice as many people being reached for the Gospel as Barnabas and John Mark went one way and Paul and Silas went the other in unity with their ministry partners. The art of fierce conversation is being lost to the passive communication of social media. The need for face to face discussion is being replaced by passive aggressive attitudes and cutting someone down behind their back. Unity never meant that we were going to see eye to eye, but rather heart to heart. That's something we have to fight for so we don't end up fighting each other!
I'm so thankful for the raw unedited accounts of real men and women who are doing their best to follow You in unity with each other. There are so many different personalities, viewpoints and opinions on display and all them colliding together before The Cross. Doing Church As A Team requires fierce conversations, awkward silences and the swallowing of pride. I want to contend for authentic unity and a deeper faith and that means getting face to face with You so I can get face to face with my leadership team in the right spirit. I pray for continued unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace at New Hope as we follow You into this year!