Quarreling Christians – “Cat-fights” in Congregations … What a tragedy! What an ugly disfigurement of the beauty of “the body of Christ,” the local church in a community!
I remember, Dr. J. Robert Ashcroft, father of John Ashcroft (attorney general under President George W. Bush), remarking, “85% of a pastor’s task is helping God’s people get along with each other!” I believe he was right – and probably in some congregations the percentage is even higher!
My Bible reading this morning during “coffee with the Lord” from the Old Testament emphasized the beauty and powerful potential of unity among God’s people…
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers [God’s people in this context] dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron [the high priest], running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded His blessing, life forevermore [that’s the promise and potential of authentic unity]! (Psalm 133 ESV)
The need and value of unity is also accented by Apostle Paul in the New Testament:
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another [being patient with one another’s weaknesses, idiosyncrasies and failings] and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony! And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:12–15 ESV)
This was apostolic instruction given to a local church! It is admonition we need to take seriously today! Unheeded it damages or destroys the effectiveness of a church’s witness and mission in a community… more than that it excludes them for God’s blessing!