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Interpersonal Risks

Nothing in this lost world bears the impress of the Son of God so surely as forgiveness.
Alice Carey1

Many conflicts, from the sublime to the petty, fall under the category of interpersonal. At times pastors must referee parties disputing issues of significance for the entire congregation. One pastor described his involvement this way:

"Right now one of the elders, a powerful man, is angry about the way one of our young people dresses for Communion. The elder is angry almost to the point of leaving. Since we serve Communion every week, it is not just an occasional problem. The boy in question has been on the verge of rebellion for a couple of years. His parents are not pleased with some of his friends. They wish he would spend more time with the church youth group.

"One expression of his rebellion is his dress — jeans, T-shirt, long hair. I think the boy, by dressing the way he does, is asking the church, 'Am I acceptable to you, or do you want to put me in a tight box?' In my judgment, it ...

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