Conflict. Have you ever wondered why other Christians fail to follow the Word of God? What is their problem, don’t they read their Bibles? Geez! If they would we wouldn’t have problems in the church. We wouldn’t have conflict and everyone would love the sermons and the music and the decor and the pastor’s tie. Elders would all be best friends. Those problem people would grow.
This can be a tendency of our holier than thou thinking. I am the only one following the Bible? Why is everyone so crappy at their walk? I have even had these thoughts. “Wait, these are Christians? These are Christians treating me this way?!”
Now there is something to be said for treating the brethren well. Jesus says that it is our very conduct of love that displays our allegiance to him. Our treatment of our own speaks volumes. Our communities of love are supposed to be appealing because we are changed by Christ. They see us loving, they see us forgiving, they see us ministering, and thus they conclude perhaps we really do believe.
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. (John 17:20-23)
Paul often says do well to people especially those of the brotherhood. In other words be excellent to each other, especially your fellow believers.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Gal 6:10)
This destruction happens when we focus on the expectation over the fact that they are our own. This is the same thing that can happen in a marriage when we think more of our point of view over the fact that you are dealing with your husband or wife; the very love of your life.
Have you ever noticed that we are reminded to overlook sins of our fellow believers? Not ignore them but have special grace for our brothers and sisters. We are to have a posture that is welcoming them to forgiveness. Believers are supposed to have thick skin especially from the pricks of their brothers. This is similar to a parent telling brothers or sisters to hug and make up. Yeah we get in each others spaces and faces but we have to live together, that is what a family does. Family does not get to elect to simply gather their things and move out into the yard. This is why Paul teaches that love covers a multitude of sins, this is how love is long-suffering. If there is already the established love between people as is such the case as among believers people should operate with this kind of grace.
We dwell together, we grow together, and we should be living peacefully. Especially since John reminds us:
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:20-21)
Now we probably wouldn’t say we hate our brothers but we definitely want to sit on the other side of the church or probably move onto another fold. But Christians should be the best conflict resolution-ers. Why? Because conflict resolutions comes about from common goals. Christians have the very best common goal and common faith. We should be able to work out our problems. This is why Paul teaches that Christians shouldn’t sue one another, if our problems have got to the point of litigation then we should probably leave our churches as well because we clearly do not understand our heritage or purpose.
Christians love one another, that is what they do, Christians love God that is what they do. When they do not they fall short of who they are. It is like a family member abandoning his family. It just isn’t done if you are in any way interested in actually remaining apart. God calls us a family, calls us a body. We work together to work it out.
Being the bride of Christ does not mean troubled waters will not come, it means we will fashion bridges to ford them.