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Brokers of Truth and Love

Balanced doses of truth and love heal the rifts of conflict.

From the editor

We would probably all agree that conflict resolution is necessary, but incredibly tricky. Emotions trump reason, stubborn loyalties trump new possibilities, and pride trumps humility—all of which adds up to the chief problem: perception trumps reality. What do you do when that happens? You join Bugh in looking at Joshua 22 to learn how best to become a broker of both truth and love.

Introduction

Someone once said that perception is nine-tenths reality. What you perceive to be reality, you conclude as just that. There's a lot of wisdom, I think, in that statement, but there's also a problem. The problem is with that one-tenth. Often, we don't have the whole picture when we think we do.

When I was in my early twenties, I was discipled for a time by a man named Bob. One day Bob said, "Let's go out to lunch." We went to a place I'd never been. As we were sitting down, Bob said, "Look around, Rob. Do you notice anything different or unusual about this place?"

I looked around. I didn't see anything, and I told Bob that. He said, "Well, look a little more closely. Look at the people." We were in a restaurant bar in Dallas, and I started to look at the people. Finally, it clicked. I said, "Bob, we are in a gay bar."

He smiled and said, "You got it." Then he proceeded to tell me how every week he and his brother, Bill, would go into this bar, sit at that particular table, and use the writings of Henry David Thoreau as a springboard to engage individuals in a conversation about God and the gospel. He had an evangelistic ministry in this gay bar.

If you were trailing Bob and me that particular day, based on your perceptions, you would conclude that we were gay—especially Bob, because he went there every week.

Think ...

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Rob Bugh is pastor of Wheaton Bible Church in Wheaton, Illinois.

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Sermon Outline:

Introduction

I. Israel models harmony and disharmony

II. Israel models the principles of healthy conflict resolution

III. Israel models a happy ending

Conclusion