Some folks just can’t seem to get along with anybody. And more than a few of these trouble-makers are proudly wearing the name of our Lord. Forgetting or ignoring Peter’s admonition to “love as brothers,” these Christ-less Christians continue to cause “divisions and offences, contrary to the doctrine which (they) have learned.” (1 Peter 3:8; Romans 16:7.)
Will we never learn that battling among ourselves most always creates more problems than it solves? Such fights are seldom won. The apparent victor too often compromises integrity in the heat of battle to such an extent that victory becomes hollow at best and an outright defeat at worst.
It’s hard to sling mud without getting yourself muddy.
Because Christ deeply loves His church, He desires unity among her members. (Ephesians 5:25; John 17:20,21.) He taught the futility of a house divided against itself and charged His disciples to love one another. (Matthew 12:25; John 13:34,35.) Paul described the united church as a body: “But now indeed there are many members yet one body . . . so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” (1 Corinthians 12:20; Romans 12:5.)
Personal differences between individuals have many times led to major divisions within an entire congregation. One scripturally united body is always more desirable than two separate and warring groups meeting together under the same roof while scarcely speaking to one another. With this kind of internal division, it is usually not long until a visible split takes place. And the split splinters the body into more than just two groups and does damage far beyond that felt by the original parties involved. In the words of the late Lloyd Connell, “There is the group that stays in the church building. There is the group that starts meeting in another place. There is the group that scatters to other congregations. And then there is the group that is disgusted about the whole matter and falls by the wayside, ceasing to attend anywhere.”
Doctrine is one thing and opinion another. While division born of sincere insistence to obey the Lord and follow the teachings of the Bible is often unavoidable, tearing the Lord’s body asunder over matters of opinion or personality is unconscionable.