This church badmouths that church. Leaders pit themselves against other leaders, denominations against other denominations. Ministry versus ministry, department versus department, congregation versus pastor, pastor versus board… I could go on. But it’s actually painful to list these conflicts.
There are a ton of verses in the Bible about loving one another, preferring one another, serving one another, and yet, we contend (fight). We contend not for the faith as we are encouraged to do (Jude 3), but we contend with one another. Seriously, what are we thinking?
I think we can answer that question in one word: us. We are thinking about ourselves. As Americans, we celebrate the scrappy underdog, who fights his way to victory. In some contexts this is great, in others, not so much. When it comes to interpersonal skills this is not the way to win.
The Bible is pretty clear. The Bible refers to all followers of Jesus as His bride, His body, His church. It also says, “If a family divides itself into groups which fight each other, that family will fall apart.” (Mark 3:25 GNT)
As believers, we should all be aware that this kind of division is contrary to the Word of God. It is an attitude sported by the immature, the arrogant, and the self-centered. Does that mean we have to agree on everything? Not gonna happen. Does it mean we should make our focus the things we agree about? I believe it does. When we talk smack about other believers, we’re talking smack about Jesus’ bride, His beloved. How does it go over with you when someone talks poorly about your spouse, your kid, your best friend? Yeah, it’s like poking a bear with a sharp stick, right?
So, let’s take off the boxing gloves and use the verses to overcome the versus. Let’s contend for something not against everything and everybody.
1 John 4:7-8 MSG “My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love.”
photo credit: shawnstpeter