Our greatest crisis?
SPRINGFIELD, MO. — Recently I was asked to give my perspective on “the greatest crisis facing the church today.” Various one-word answers ran through my mind:
• Discipleship (Not growing in the knowledge of Christ)
• Witnessing (An unwillingness to share Jesus with nonbelievers)
• Faith (A failure to rely on the power of God)
Although a case can be made for any of these responses, I replied, “One of the greatest crises we’re facing is division in the body of Christ.”
We have not attained what Jesus prayed for in John 17:23: “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them” (NIV).
Perhaps we have become too comfortable with, and accepting of, disunity: We tolerate and participate in gossip. We entertain and engage in unconstructive criticism. And we accommodate a spirit of suspicion.
Division must become so disturbing that, in love, we have the courage to confront those who stir up dissension with their slanderous tongues. Ephesians 4:3 says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
We must be willing to pay the price to preserve unity. Remaining silent on the issue makes one an accessory to the crime. Passivity merely enables others to continue in their destructive ways without a path to healing and restoration.
May we pray for those who have a critical spirit and rely on the Holy Spirit to give us the appropriate words and perfect opportunity to speak the truth to them in love.
If we truly love one another and value unity in the body of Christ, we will not allow the fear of confrontation and conflict to prevent us from holding one another to a higher standard of behavior.
E-mail your comments to email@example.com.