Colliding with Love

Embrace conflict as an opportunity for growth and fellowship.

I read through the small group covenant as I had done countless times before. I like to revisit the purpose of our small group and restate the need for commitment and confidentiality every time we begin a new study. I expected this time would be no different than the others, when agreement with the covenant was unanimous. As I finished reading the last point, I asked the group as I usually do, "Is everyone okay with this?" I reached for the day's lesson, assuming we would be moving on, when I heard a fairly new group member say, "No, that doesn't work for me." Shocked, I looked up to see her emotionless face as she continued. "I can't say I can commit to this group," she aggressively stated, "I'm in three other Bible studies and sometimes I won't feel like going to them all."

The discussion drifted from our topic when a young man mentioned Satan. Several others chimed in with their own stories of the devil's evil tactics to get them off track and lose sight of God's will for their lives. The lively conversation continued until a woman broke through the chatter with the words, "I don't believe in the devil." The discussion came to a halt and all comments were replaced by an abrupt silence. Our small group leader looked like she was trying to piece together a response when another woman boldly said, "No wonder you don't believe in the devil—he lives at my house." The group roared with laughter.

As the members of our small group discussed the book of Ephesians, two of the men disagreed with each other's interpretation of chapter 5, verses 25-27, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present ...

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