There are few things more tragic than a church divided.
Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Yet, too often, the church is known by its bickering and dividing among itself, rather than its love for one another.
When a church is divided, it’s easy to fall into the temptation of placing blame on others, but the reality is that if your church is divided, you, not the person who has “all sorts of problems and issues,” may be the cause of the division.
Many don’t set out to be divisive in the church.
The seeds of division are small, but they can grow into a large problem. As Christians, it’s important that we prayerfully examine ourselves to see whether or not we are the cause of division.
Here are five signs to consider.
Read them. Pray about them. And if you find yourself as the cause of division, then repent and make restitution with those you have offended.
Pride is an ugly sin, and proud people are ugly. Pride in the life of the church ultimately leads to division.
If you think highly of yourself, delight in providing your opinions, expect to be consulted about your opinions, and get angry when they’re not obeyed, then you probably struggle with pride.
“Heresy” is quite the buzzword in the church. Many times, Christians label other Christians as heretics because they disagree with them on some minute, nonessential detail. That’s not heresy. That’s disagreement.
A heretic is someone who believes the opposite of orthodox Christian doctrine. A heretic is someone who doesn’t believe that there is one God in three persons, that Jesus is God’s Son, and that Jesus lived without sin, died on the cross in our place, and rose as our Savior. These, among a few others, are essential beliefs that must be adhered to if you call yourself a Christian.
The allowance of heresy will divide, and even destroy, the church.
Legalists love to act like God by making rules. Not only do they make rules, but they also wield rules as weapons to divide the church body into separate parts.
Instead of honoring Jesus in their personal convictions, legalists despise and even pass judgment on those who are not like them (Rom. 14:1–12).