1 Corinthian 12:25
“So that there may be no division in the body, but the members may have mutual concern for one another!”
1 Corinthian 13:4-5
“Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful.”
“A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a citadel.”
Dividing and conquering can be a great strategy when trying to accomplish a difficult task, but in the case of relationships and the body of Christ, divisiveness accomplishes destruction. We are stronger when we are united.
One of the saddest things for me to see is when members within a church begin to devour one another. When hard times hit a church is when true character is displayed in its members – it is also when we need one another the most.
An offended brother is like an unyielding city. Forget whether or not their offense is legitimate or founded on truth. Sometimes you can try to be a peacemaker and still receive abusive treatment from a bitter soul. What then?
Love. Recently someone spoke bitterly to me right before I was to lead worship. I had a choice. I chose love. When I contemplated the actions later in prayer to God, He gave me compassion for this individual and the knowledge that their perception was misplaced. I could leave it in God’s loving hands. I could trade concern over my own hurt to concern over what really created the bitterness in this person’s soul.
I have been crushed in the past by words spoken with an intent to harm, but not this time. By the grace of God alone, I did not think of self, but instead of the other person and gave it to my God, Who is fully capable of dealing with all hearts, including mine. The result? Peace. Joy. No anxiety. This was a major victory and the evil one must have been bummed.
There is no case for self-righteousness, because we are all guilty. We all hurt from time to time and all want affirmation, but our neediness is best filled by God, not looking to man to justify or accept us. People will get mad from time to time. That’s ok. We cannot please everyone, and our ultimate audience is God alone.
More than being right is the need for the body of Christ to care for one another. Brothers and sisters shepherding one another’s souls. No agendas other than God’s glory. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all tried for that goal? Division would quickly turn to multiplication instead . . . multiplied members, gratitude and joy.
Lord, help us to buildup one another and to put to death our hurt feelings which are birthed in pride. May You be glorified in all circumstances in our lives and in Your church.