UNITY NOT DIVISION
Being well-intentioned is no excuse for Body bashing. Unity in the church is vital to the success of the mission God has called us to. That is why Paul says: “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one person for the faith of the gospel” Philippians 1:27. “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” Colossians 3:14
Within the walls of the Church exists two groups of people; the vocal minority and a dormant silent majority. The Church is made up of peacekeepers rather than truth tellers. Truth telling is not vomiting one’s ignorance on a subject matter that frustrates a person to their core. Truth telling should be more about what God has said, than what we prefer. Truth telling cannot ignore other biblical absolutes like conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel or speaking the truth in love.
Reflect on the last prayer of Jesus to His Father in John 17. Jesus prayed for UNITY. He prayed that ‘we’ (the Church) would be one as He is one with His Father. He said that our unity would bring glory to the Father. He said that our love one for another would be the visual to a world that the words of Jesus are true.
Jesus asks His Father, is it your desire to take them out of this messed up world? The answer was no! He prayed for those who remain to be protected and that they learn to live ‘in it’ and to not become ‘of it.’
Jesus tells us to be like Him. Jesus left heaven and came to us and lived among us. He moved into the neighborhood. He incarnated. He was the light of the world. He let his light shine. He told us to not hide our light under a basket. That light shines by loving God and loving one another. It is by our love that the world might come to know Jesus as Savior.
There is a ‘nasty’ trend within the church. A group of people who are probably well intentioned but do more harm than good. They bash the Church. Without knowing it they mutilate and often amputate parts of their own body. Most of this is done in self-righteousness. It has more to do with their ‘truth’ than God’s TRUTH.
You can find these people on almost every social media or facebook thread. People trespass on a comment or a post to hate on an idea or worse a person. Then this entire group of well-intentioned dragons come out of the closet. They feed off of their own negativity and are blinded to their own destructive behavior. It destroys the Body and repels the world to any desire to be a part of our family.
This unhealthy worldview often stems from legalistic traditional upbringing or from personal political agendas. I am not against tradition. Tradition or even conservatism is fine. If I can be ok with you, can you be ok with me? Is there a place for the righteously radical? Jesus himself was a stumbling block. He at with sinners, he crossed boundaries and talked to a Samaritan Woman. He despised the religious legalistic leaders in His day.
This group of well-intentioned believers see their mission as correcting every ‘evil’ or at least righting the wrongs of anything that goes against their way of thinking. They bash, they tear down. Sometimes they are subtle but more often than not in the days in which we live they air their thoughts through social media and coward from having any meaningful dialogue. Why does the Church (God’s people) lash out at men and women of God who are part of the Body of Christ and make comments like, “they are dangerous.”? They even accuse God fearing Pastors as being ‘anti Christ’ when their views are different than theirs.
The point is not to say that we are not flawed as people of God. Teachers and Pastors are not the final word. God’s Word is final. Sometimes we get it wrong. This is a difficult world. There are plenty of problems. We are in a battle. We certainly do not need to battle those within the family.
Has any believer been given the role that rightly belongs to the Holy Spirit to be the ‘Convictor of Sin’? If we desire to be like Jesus who came not to condemn but to save, then why do we war with one another? Why do we feel a need to respond to every post to show our disdain or voice our opinion if we happen to disagree? Can we lovingly disagree. It is not a sin to disagree, but it is a sin to tear down and and spew fire against one another.
Is there such a thing as a ‘well intentioned dragon’ or are they in fact pawns of the evil one unaware that they are sufficiently carrying out the agenda of the dragon/enemy of God…Satan himself? When the Church mutilates itself, Satan is free to wreak havoc elsewhere. There is no need for him to tear down the Body of Christ when we are accomplishing that within our own walls.
How do we fix our problem? Love. Love is the answer to disunity.
How do we love better?
- Accept everybody.
Do you know why people have a hard time accepting others? They confuse acceptance with approval. There’s a big difference between acceptance and approval. You can accept somebody without approving of their lifestyle. They may be doing something totally contrary to the word of God, but you can accept them as a person without approving of the sin they are involved in.
“Accept one another just as Christ accepted you.” Romans 15:7. That’s a start — acceptance. The church is a hospital for sinners, not a hotel for saints where we dress up and look great on the outside but are angry and bitter on the inside. Our theology can be expressed best by realizing that in the essentials we have unity, in the non-essentials we have liberty and in all things we have charity. I am aware some are already arguing over what is essential and what is not essential. Focus on the last part. In ALL things we have LOVE.
Some of you already have the hairs on the back of your neck standing up. You don’t want to accept. You want to condemn those who don’t align with your worldview. Here is the Truth. Jesus said to accept one another. That is the TRUTH. Some of you are not going to like Heaven because it’s not exclusive enough. If we can’t learn to get along together here on the earth, what makes us think we’ll get along together in heaven? Accept everybody.
- Appreciate everybody.
This goes a little bit further than acceptance. Philippians 2:35 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself. Each of you should look not only to your own interest but also the interest of others.” Appreciate everybody.
- Affirm everybody.
I Thessalonians. 5:11 “Encourage one another and build each other up.” When people stumble, don’t criticize, sympathize. When people voice an opinion different than your own, might you consider engaging in face-to-face dialogue and seek to understand rather than screaming your opinion trying to be understood, because of course your way ‘must’ be the right way. And please recognize in a digital age, it is irresponsible to cowardly write any thought through any social media stream if we have not first approached the person. If you have a problem with someone or with any idea ‘direct message’ them.
Why do we feel we have to voice every thought that comes to our minds? I have ‘many’ thoughts and probably have an opinion on most things. Wisdom says, it is better to listen than to spew. Hold captive thoughts that tear down and are unwholesome. Let NO word come out of your mouth that is destructive.
Let’s be better Church. Let’s do better. Let’s be the Church. Let’s love God and love our neighbor.
Let’s be more known for what we are FOR than what we are against. We are for LOVE! Jesus is both TRUTH and LOVE. They cannot be separated.
James says, You cannot say you love God and hate your brother. The Truth is not in us.
May Jesus speak His Truth and His Love into all of us. Jesus we need you. I need you.