Judgement will divide and destroy us from within. As followers of Christ, we are to live in unity by loving one another, even when we disagree.
In the movie Captain America: Civil War (Yes, this is a life lesson from a superhero movie. I’m a mom to boys, what can I say?), the bad guy knows that he is not strong enough to fight and destroy the Avengers. So instead, he causes division among them so that they will destroy themselves. Only the Avengers are strong enough to fight each other.
Isn’t this what is happening? Our enemy knows that he is not strong enough to destroy us. He is, however, conniving enough to manipulate us into destroying each other.
Unity: The Opposing Sides
There is an incredible amount of divisiveness bombarding us. There is constant pressure making us feel like we need to take sides. And if we try to actually listen to the other side, we may face ridicule by the side we are supposedly on. Wow, that’s confusing. Too many sides. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really fit on a side.
We face division politically..
If you are a democrat, you must want to kill all the unborn babies. If you are republican, you must be racist and sexist. If you are libertarian, you must…smoke pot?
We face division with parenting…
If you bottle feed, you must be selfish and not want to give of yourself. If you wear your baby, you must not be able to set boundaries. If you send your children to public school, you must not care about the influences on their life.
And of course, we face division spiritually…
Unity: Among Believers
In private. As Christians we are to point out to one another if we are living in sin. That truly is the loving thing to do, even though it is uncomfortable. This confrontation, however, is to be done in love, and directly to that individual.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
After listening. Before speaking, listening is essential. Make sure that all the information is known and understood. No one is able to judge, and condemn, when we are only getting our information from outside sources.
If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Unity: Even In Disagreements
But what if it’s not a sin issue? What if it is just a disagreement?
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
We are intricate creatures, each having different passions and perspectives. We are absolutely going to disagree. Maybe we just don’t need to battle it out on social media. However, if we do find ourselves debating in view of others, then it needs to be done with respect and love. We need to remember that people are watching our actions and reading our words.
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
Unity: Ending the Judgement
Is it disagreeing, or judging?
In our culture right now we are so concerned with not offending people that we are more afraid than ever to disagree, but have never been more judgmental. Maybe, if we learn to understand people, and/or assume the best of them, we can get beyond ourselves and leave the judging thing to The Lord. After all, He’s the only one that truly knows our hearts anyways, right?
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
For me, the best way to combat division (whether it’s from sin, a disagreement, or simply being judgmental) is to encourage the one I am “at odds” with.
The areas we need the most encouragement are the areas we are weakest in. Therefore, these areas are the most vulnerable to judgement because we are not doing them as well as we would like. Perhaps we need to encourage others to live with the qualities that truly matter:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
When we see others struggling in these areas, let us speak words of encouragement to them, rather than tearing them down with ridicule. Instead of dumping shame on top of them, build them up in love. This is living in unity.
All scriptures used is from the ESV
If you have found this inspiring, share the encouragement…
It is tempting to run away from conflict, but God will meet us in the midst of it.
He will bond us together in love with others.