A cancer we tolerate
Yet again I, as a church leader, had an all too common conversation. A conversation about division in a local church and the cost it had had on the people, the leaders, the mission of the church, and its reputation among nonchristians. Division is never good and it's always costly!
Division is the antithesis of the gospel.
The Gospel is about restoring relationships between us, God, and each other.
The Gospel is about actively and continually extending grace.
The Gospel is about receiving and extending forgiveness.
The Gospel is about peace.
The Gospel is about walking with a humble heart.
The Gospel is about diversity.
Division actively, progressively, and destructively pursues the opposite of all this.
When we pursue, engage in, or allow division we, for the desire to be right, pay a huge cost.
Whether arisen form heartache, hurt, misunderstanding, divided vision, or offense scripture allows for no accommodations that justify us having any part in division within the church.
So here's some practical thoughts:
has someone hurt you? Go directly to them, express your heart and offer forgiveness.
Do you disagree with the leadership? Pray that God would give you humility in this matter then go directly to them and speak honestly, humbly, and respectfully.
Are you unable to resolve an issue with another believer, leader, or pastor? Pray for them. Be humble, submit to their leadership and seek unity, even in the midst of disagreement.
Has that issue developed to the point in which you believe you can not worship with that other believer, submit to that leader, or be lead by that pastor? With humility, quietly remove yourself from that body. Find another church. Commit to yourself and your spouse (or one friend that will hold you accountable) that you will speak only positively of that person and church.
Division is a BIG deal. There is NOTHING God honoring in division. May we be humbled today as we remember that just moments before being hung on a cross for our sins our unity was on Jesus' mind; "I pray that they might be one." May we pursue forgiveness for any division we have caused.
"Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:3
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