I was working with a couple that said they loved each other very much, but were thinking about a divorce. “OK”, I said, “Write down the top five things that drive you nuts and we’ll go from there.” On each of their lists was an item simply stated as “toilet paper.” This I had to hear about. Apparently, one wanted the toilet paper to roll out from the top and the other wanted the paper to roll out from the bottom. “She’s got to do it my way”, said the husband, “I have to win this.” Thus we had the problem. Both of them had to “win.” In doing so, they both were losing.
Sometimes in the church we get to a point where a person feels we have to do something because it’s the right thing to do. At least from that person’s point of view. When it gets to a point where the person has to “win” and the other person has to “lose”, then the relationship breaks down and the church suffers. Because what is the “loser” going to do? They’re going to try and “win” the next one – or – they’re going to make statements like, “I’m never going back there again!” When that happens, everyone loses.
Like the couple, the church needs to find a solution where both sides “win.” (In the case of the couple, the toilet paper runs one way in one bathroom and the other way in the other bathroom.) When people talk and reach a solution together – or at least something both can live with – then the church grows stronger and everyone wins. The Apostle Paul writes, “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.”
Words for all of us to live by.
This blog consists of reflections written by the minister each week for the Sunday bulletin. We hope that you enjoy the musings!