“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”
Back in the 1990’s, Linde and I found ourselves in the middle of Canada’s longest running inquest. The inquest focused on 12 infants who died after undergoing cardiac surgery in Winnipeg. Our son, Ashton, was one of the 12. In the end, the judge ruled that most of the deaths were preventable. Had we gone to Toronto or Edmonton, our children would likely still be alive. The big problem was the pediatric cardiac surgeon. He simply did not have the skills required to perform successful repairs to such tiny hearts. In particular, he struggled with a procedure called cannulation, which involves running a tube into arteries in order to redirect blood flow. His colleagues testified that he was unable to carry out the procedure with the requisite delicateness. He was too rough, applied too much pressure, and ended up damaging tiny hearts beyond repair. Though we miss our son, we take great comfort, even as David did, in knowing that He is with the Lord, waiting for our reunion with him in that blessed place (2 Samuel 12:23). The tragedy carries life lessons that we would do well to take heed to. Our homes and families, like our local church, are analogous to living organisms. They grow, change, and develop over time. Like any other living thing, they can be healthy and strong or they can be sick and weak. Sometimes invading bacteria or viruses creep in and cause disease in a biological system. In our homes, families, and churches, false beliefs, wrong desires or immoral behaviour can cause unwellness also (cf 2 Timothy 2:16-18). Letting any sort of disease go unchecked is a bad idea; sickness in all its forms ought to be addressed and remedied. As we have seen, however, sometimes gentleness is essential; a rough “bull-in-a-China-shop” approach can do far more harm than good. Paul instructs us, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). “Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,” wrote the great apostle, “with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3). In every social institution, including the church, there will inevitably be disagreement, friction, and even conflict (cf Acts 15:36-41). We must believe, however, that the God Who reconciled the world to Himself and has given us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Colossians 1:20) will grant us the wisdom and temperament needed to resolve whatever problems arise, even while maintaining our blessed Christian unity. May it be so and to His glory. Amen!