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A Look Back at Sunday’s Sermon: The Greatest Commandment

(Mark 12:28-34)

Mark 12:28-34

How do you love your neighbor? More importantly, how do you deal with
people in the church who are different from you? They usually take your time,
effort, money, attention, focus and resources. It is easier to love God and to
bless God because he gives so much to us. Out of the love you have for
yourself, because you should know you are worth something, you should also
love your neighbor.

In this passage, Jesus is asked what the most important commandment is.
He replies with:
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord
our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with
all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is
this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[There is no commandment greater
than these.” (Mark 12:29-31). To the Hebrews, the heart meant impulse
control. Often time’s people think the heart means the emotions you feel,
but God is not an emotion. You are able to control your actions and your
heart. The soul is your self-conscious. It is the way you approach God. You
have to wake up each day choosing God. If you don’t, something else will be
chosen for you. The mind is what thoughts are going through your head.
What are you constantly thinking about? There is a saying, ‘Tell me what
your thinking of and I will tell you who you want to be.’ To love God with all
your strength means to help others when they need it if you are able. A
Christian who does not help their neighbor does not love God.

Grace Covenant is striving to be a multicultural church. Every culture brings

something to the service and the church is better because everyone is
different. However, often time’s people love their brother or sister who is
different from them as long as it doesn’t affect them. How does the church
deal with conflict then? Pastor Danny referred to Matthew 5: 21-24 to answer

The way you love your brother or sister in the church directly hurts or helps
your relationship with God. God doesn’t just want you to sacrifice; he wants
you to be a righteous Christian as well. The church should be a place where
no one gets stones thrown at them no matter how different they are from
you. The way you love God determines how you love yourself which
determines how you love others. Think about that for a minute. Being a
Christian is not just about having a relationship with God.

In Matthew 5, Jesus commands that if you have something against your

brother or sister OR if they have something against you to go to them before
you bring your offering to the church. That can be hard because you don’t
want to hear what the other person has to say often times. If you want to kill
your relationship with God, go unreconciled with your personal relationships.
It is important that you make every attempt to ask for and give forgiveness.
When people don’t agree with you about something in the church, don’t
leave things unsaid, go to them and reconcile.

Every culture deals with conflict in a different way. Over the past week
Pastor Danny asked several people of different cultures how they dealt with
conflict and this was their responses:

Anglo Culture- deal with the conflict head on. “Good conflict resolution”
according to white culture is where the person raising the issue is very clear
and specific about what exactly the problem is and why there’s a problem.
There’s a heavy emphasis on verbally articulating the problem. And the tone
is supposed to be calm and unemotional”-Pastor Danny.

African American Culture- Direct communication is also valued, however

“in black culture, emotional expression is highly valued. If you really care
about an issue, then it’s assumed that you’ll be emotional about it. And in
black culture, you’re supposed to keep it real and tell it like it is”-Pastor

Latino Culture- “there’s a lot of differences depending on ethnic

nationality. Puerto Ricans are known to be loud and confrontational in their
conflict. But for Guatemalen culture, it’s very different. Direct confrontation
is not so common. Usually, when there’s a problem, people avoid it. Either
they give the silent treatment to the person, or they just avoid them all
together. But, and this is true more broadly in Latino culture, there’s a
strong loyalty in relationships. Once you’re in the family, you’re in the
family. Even if there’s a major fall-out between two relatives, they don’t cut
each other off”-Pastor Danny.

Asian Culture- conflict is very indirect. “There’s a heavy emphasis in Asian

culture on public shame and saving face. If you make a mistake, then it’s not
just your own reputation that’s at stake. Your whole family and all of your
ancestors will be attached to that mistake. So having conflict is a high stakes
thing”-Pastor Danny.

How do you deal with conflict? Take a good look and see how you can
change or enhance the way you deal with it.
Conflict isn’t a bad thing. How you handle conflict is what makes the
difference. As the church grows there will be more conflict among the
congregation because there will be different people. Pastor Danny
encouraged the congregation to to pray on how the church can love the
different people who will be coming in 2011. God doesn’t say love your
brother or sister unless… He says love them period!

Now that you know how different cultures deal with conflict, hopefully it will
help you embrace those in the church who are different from you and avoid
not dealing with conflict.

Remember: The way you love God determines how you love yourself, which
determines how you love your neighbor.

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