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  • Writer's pictureLES HENSON

Irreconcilable Differences

Les Henson

Sometimes within the life of a church community, it becomes time to make a decision instead of continually pussyfooting around a problematic and contentious issue. We can spend much time seeking to please everyone and expending lots of emotional energy, but there comes the point when we need to make a decision. Some decisions are so hard because you are 'damned if you do and damned if you don't' in making them. When good people take opposing and irreconcilable positions on an essential issue of conscience and no mediation position is possible, and all options exhausted despite prayerfully and faithfully seeking them, then a decision needs to be made without delay.

Such decisions must be made with humility and a sense of genuine sadness by all involved. However, not making such a decision will be more destructive to the long-term life of the community than making one. Once we make a decision, the process of healing can begin, and the church can move forward. If people decide to leave, they can depart with the community's blessing instead of drifting away because of inaction that leaves them with an unbearable stalemate. Indeed, the longer a community takes in deciding once a deadlock occurs, the more the long-term damage will be, and the more significant is the risk of alienation.

In summing up, in dealing with a problematic and contentious issue, we must exhaust all possible options in finding a mediating solution that maintains the unity of the church community and the conscience of all involved. However, if a deadlock is reached, then a decision must be made swiftly and humbly to avoid further damage to the life of the church community.

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