Is anyone else struggling with the intense disagreements and division all around us? It’s on the news, on social media, in public square, our schools and even in our churches. It seems non-stop, in-your-face, relentless. It’s every-where-you-turn! Ironically though, this is not a new cultural phenomenon, it’s not even a new struggle for the church. The disciples often had disagreements with each other. Within the first few chapters of Acts there is a disagreement over Gentile widows being discriminated against in the daily food distributions. The church in Corinth had all kinds of problems and disagreements, yet Paul challenged them to remain united in Christ and not give way to division.
That seems a little lofty, right? The thing is, to be united with Christ means we are united TO EACH OTHER—FOREVER – like it or not! Christ is not separate from His Body. Did you catch that? A great picture of this is when Jesus asked Paul why he was persecuting Him when Paul was hunting Christians. That question implies that when we hurt, dishonor or attack a part of Jesus’ Body, then we are hurting, dishonoring and attacking Him. Let that sink in for a minute. How we disagree with each other really matters. Not only do we represent Jesus Christ to the world, but we inflict pain on Christ when we inflict pain on one another. That statement should take your breath away. Disagreements WILL arise because it’s the nature of relationships, but as Christians we must choose our words carefully and not allow our differences to lead to divisions, backbiting and nastiness like what we see played out in the culture around us. God did not create people to be homogeneous robots that look the same, have all the same experiences, and hold to all the same ideas. Instead, He chose to create a unique, diverse people who could together reflect His whole image.
So, the question is – do you acknowledge that you are united to every member of the Body of Christ and do you choose to esteem others as co-image bearers? Will you choose your words with care when you engage someone who has a different perspective than yours? Let’s do the heavy, relational lifting or if we’re not careful, people won’t be able to distinguish us from the world around us and we could wind up with a form of religion that has no power.