Choose peace not division

Published 4:22 pm Monday, October 10, 2022

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By Pastor Jason Green | Mineral Springs Baptist Church

Traveling troublemakers, this is something with which the church struggles. The people I am writing about are those that create issues in one church they currently attend, cause division among the family of God, then back away to watch the fireworks. When the church has finally split, the folks that caused the trouble generally bail on the broken fellowship, opting to move on to another place of worship. More often that not, these kinds of people cause the same issues in every other church at which they land, leaving a trail of shattered churches and destroyed relationships in their wake.

The average person doesn’t intend to do this. When dealing with human nature, though, more often that not we can find ourselves in a place of disagreement with a direction or vision cast by leadership. And when the forward motion continues, and we do not like it, we begin to bristle, become disgruntled and we grumble. Our grumbles soon turn into all out assaults on leadership. We begin putting together our team to attack. Then everyone who refuses to join our attack squad also becomes the enemy, and we become theirs.

This is a vicious cycle. Strife causes people to resent each other, become disloyal, and leaves church families with scars that may or may not heal. Once a church is broken, the conflict within in it destroys its reputation for, according to statistics, for as many as 20 years. That’s dependent upon whether or not it is able to heal internally.

Scripture tells us that we are to be kind to one another, trust leadership as long as it is godly and not blasphemous. It tells us to avoid worshiping tradition and to meet people where they are. When we become stuck on one way of doing things — our way — and refuse to recognize times have moved past some of the traditions we worship, anger, rage, resentment and lashing out become our only options. We are to live in peace with each other. We are to support and encourage one another. The most important thing we are to do is to have faith — that’s trusting that the Lord know what He’s doing and that His way is the right way. Prayer, study, fellowship and service are the best ways to stay on God’s page, and to keep from dealing so harshly with one another.

Finally, causing a ruckus and jumping ship is never the right thing to do. Because you will, unintentionally, take your issues, resentment and frustration with you. There’s a significant chance you are just going to become a problem somewhere else. Look at yourself and make the determination to put on Jesus. Make peace with those with whom you have conflict. Give a little and make sure you are not worshipping your way and your traditions instead of Christ. What you may find is that a little consideration instead of consternation on your part may help motivate people to move toward you in peace and cooperation instead of away from you.

The cross of Christ builds a bridge between us and the Lord across a divide we could not conquer ourselves. So, Christianity is about building bridges between ourselves as brothers and sisters in Christ – not lighting them on fire and turning them into things we can never again cross.

Work it out where you are. If you cannot, leave your gripe where you came from and move on in forgiveness and peace. Churches have enough problems as it is in a world that despises our message. Churches do not need more problems generated from within their walls. There should be grace in the place.