Division in the Body of Christ – Part 1
Imagine, if you will a family. You’ve got your mom and dad, and that set of parents has several children. They do their best to raise their offspring with a sense of honor and respect. Despite their best efforts, some of their kids end up hanging out with the wrong sorts of people, and all of the parents’ teaching over the years becomes crowded out by the negative attitudes of those the children surround themselves with.
They argue until they’re blue in the face over the smallest of matters with anyone and everyone and may the force be with you if you even dare challenge them on how they treat other people! As they get older and go from college to the working world, their behavior keeps them from making friends with anyone but those who act and think like they do, leaving everyone else clucking their tongues and wondering “Just how did their parents raise them anyway? Geesh.”
Folks, this is what a large part of the world’s population thinks of the Body of Christ in general. We’ve spent so much time and effort fighting amongst ourselves that we’ve given the world just one more excuse to ignore God. Who wants to follow a God who seems to be raising some pretty nasty kids?
Jesus never told us to “Go ye into all the world and tell them how this and that preacher are of the devil and they need to stay away from them and their false teaching.” No, He told us to preach the GOOD news – the Gospel!
Right now you may be thinking, “Yeah, but someone has to warn people about the heresies these people are teaching!” Nope. Wrong. Not your job. We’ll get to that in part two of this series of posts on division in the Body of Christ. For now, we’re going to go into a little more detail about what Jesus told us we should be doing in our time here on earth. I ask you to put all thoughts of correcting others and keeping them from what you see as deception out of your mind – along with any “yeah, buts” – as you read. I want us to start at the basics – with what Jesus told us to do first, and build on the other stuff from there. It’s important we hear what the Bible has to say, even if it challenges our beliefs. We’ve obviously gotten off course as the Body, and we can fix it by going back to the foundational stuff. Are you ready? Let’s go.
LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35.
The first thing I want to point out is that Jesus used the word “commandment” not “suggestion.” If you know even a little bit about military practices, you know that when a commander gives an order, they aren’t suggesting a course of action. They expect it to be done. If the order isn’t carried out, well that’s insubordination. If we sincerely want Jesus to be the Lord of our lives, then we need to say to ourselves what Mary said to the servants at the famous wedding feast when they ran out of wine, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” (John 2:5 – and please note that their “doing it” resulted in a miracle.)
Jesus commanded us to love one another the way He loved us. Well, He went so far as laying down His life for all. And He didn’t just do it for those who were following Him at that time – He did it for the vilest of sinners and everyone in between. That makes yesterday’s annoyance over a dish not being put away again seem pretty darn insignificant. But I digress…
So why would Jesus put such an emphasis on walking in love? Verse 35 answers that question. He said that the world would know we’re His disciples because of it. I know I asked you to put thoughts of warning others against “false doctrines” and stuff like that out of your mind…but I want to point out here that Jesus didn’t say people would know we’re His disciples by our doctrinal debates.
I’m going to let us chew on all of that for a bit here. I know I needed this reminder just as much as anyone, and I suggest we all meditate and reflect upon what Jesus did for us “while we were still sinners” as well as take a gander at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 with fresh eyes and see how our current actions and attitudes have been lining up with God’s kind of love.
When you’re ready, and maybe you’re ready now, you could pray something like this:
“Father, I repent for not walking in love as Jesus commanded me. Thank You for showing me how important it is, and I ask you to help me learn how to love others the way You love me. Give me my first step on this path, and I’ll follow it. In Jesus’ name, amen!”
I’ll leave you with a quote that I read recently from Jesse Duplantis:
“God’s love command is ground zero for Christianity. If we don’t get this right, we don’t get anything right.”