“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9 (ESV)
No doubt, you’ve been tuned into the media over the past few weeks. It is safe to say there is a great level of unrest among the citizens of our great country. The two sides seem to be at war with one another, both as passionate as the other in their agendas. Our country will not stand if it is divided and consumed by quarrels and differences of opinion. United we stand and divided we fall. I’m not minimizing the weight of the issues that our country is facing. We are upagainst some very real, difficult obstacles and the single best thing that we can do as followers of Christ is to pray for our nation and its leaders. Whether or not we agree with the decision, we are ALL flawed human beings and God can use even the most flawed to still carry out His ultimate plan. Look at who He used to begin the Church! He requires only that we trust Him and that we call on His name.
One thing that I have learned through watching these events unfold is that words matter. They cut deeper than any knife and they cannot be taken back once said.
“But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:8 (ESV)
Of course, apologies can be made and behavior changed, but the scars remain. Wounds take time to heal. The same is true within the Church. Conflict within the Body of Christ is not an easy topic to discuss, but it is critical, now more than ever. Satan has been working overtime to dismantle the Body of Christ, piece by piece.
“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” Proverbs 6:16-19 (ESV)
We are well aware that the first several items in the list are despicable to the Lord. Right now, I’d like us to take a moment and focus on the last phrase “one who sows discord among brothers”. This is a rampant issue within the Church and one that many turn a blind eye towards or may not even realize that they are partaking in.
Let’s look at some possible ways that this can happen:
-Not going to your brother directly when there is an offense, but discussing it with others to gain affirmation.
-Gossip and Slander OR disguising either as a “prayer request”.
-Lying or twisting the truth to suit your own interests.
-Disagreements or quarreling over minor issues that hold no weight in the bigger picture (i.e. hem length, music style, etc.).
-Listening to others only to insert your own opinions.
-Basing your opinion of a situation on hearsay, with no knowledge of it yourself.
There are many more, but these items seem to be a common thread among women. We just love to get all wrapped up in each other’s business, insert our two cents and take sides! It’s like we feed off the energy or something. I know that I’m guilty of it too.
We must come to realize that the Church is ONE body. Not individuals. Not political views, denominations, separate places of worship or a building with four walls. When we sow discord with a brother, sister or even a group of fellow believers, we are not only harming them as individuals, but we are actually INJURING the Bride of Christ. For those of you that are married, how do you feel when someone says or does something harmful to your spouse? I think it hurts even more than if it were done to you personally! That is only a very small fraction of the love that Christ has for His Bride. When we argue over political candidates, personal preferences or trivial things like how long a hem should be or what style of music is best, we don’t solve problems, we create discord. While at the same time, our focus is on that issue and not on the bigger picture, which is to make disciples. Satan LOVES this! He may not be able to have us, since we are children of God, but he CAN make us a poor testimony or too distracted to bother with our main mission.
To be clear, I’m not talking about theology and items that blatantly go against scripture. There is a proper way for these to be handled and an extremely long and weighty discussion for another time. I’m simply speaking to petty arguments.
My challenge to you (and myself) is:
-Be mindful and prayerful of your words. Wisdom wins over emotion.
-If you have an issue or offense, go directly to the person who offended you instead of others.
-Ask if you are sowing discord or creating unity before you speak or when you comment on social media. Is what you say pointing others to the Lord?
And as all our mothers once told us, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!”
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)
I’m praying with you and for you dear sisters!
Diane Haupt is a stay-at-home wife and mother and serves on the board of directors for The Connection. She is a fellow sinner saved by the grace of God and is an active member of LCBC Church in Waynesboro, PA where she serves on the worship team. She has a passionate desire given by the Holy Spirit to mentor and disciple other women. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.