All you have to do is watch CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, or read any new aggregate and you will quickly be subjected to attacks… criticisms… and all kinds of virulent words against people. Politics has become nothing more than constant mud slinging and calls for resignations. But that’s not the point of this post.
What bothers me more is how this culture of criticism has infiltrated the church. I’ve been associated with congregations from 10 to 650… and they all have people in them that criticize constantly. Brothers and sisters, this ought not be! People criticize: The preacher for preaching too long.. what he wears… the direction he leads the church… the Deacons… Sunday School teachers… what others wear… and I could give you a laundry list of things I’ve been subjected to, heard, and been told.
The result? Disharmony. Disunity. Division. Strife. And the worst of all, quenching the Spirit. What is more troubling is people are allowed to cause these things in the congregation. The reason is most of those who are part of the fellowship shy away from confrontation, they avoid difficult situations, they prefer peace to contention… so they stay quiet (Or leave to attend another place to worship). Now here’s the good news… God has given His way to deal with these people in congregations. The problem with the good news is God’s people won’t follow His command. Consider…
Titus 3:10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.
Romans 16:17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.
Galatians 5:12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves! (Remember, Paul wrote this!!)
1 Corinthians 14:33 God is not a God of confusion but of peace.
In my experience, Satan doesn’t destroy congregations through heresy. His preferred method is division and strife in the fellowship.
God’s Will is for His people to exist in harmony, love, unity. God’s will is for congregations to be of one mind and one accord. In order for this to be the case there must be strong leaders in place who are willing to make the decision to censure those who cause problems, and… if necessary (After many attempts to restore and include them)… be willing for them to be removed from the fellowship.
I know that won’t be popular with many… but the unity and peace of God’s people is at stake. If a spy is identified by our government they are removed, right?! So why would any faithful leader allow a divisive person to remain among God’s people to continue causing strife?
It seems that almost EVERY congregation tolerates people who are contrary, divisive, gossipping,critical spirited people. I’m pretty much of the opinion that tolerating these type individuals is as bad as those who tolerate immoral people as Paul described in 1 Cor 5:1-8.
Oh that more congregations would heed the Scripture… That more congregations would be islands of peace in a contentious world… FOR GOD’S GLORY!