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Monday, March 16, 2009

When Christians Collide

And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Colossians 3:12, 13 (New American Standard Bible)

Disagreements happen among Christians and sometimes they can be heated. Two instances in the early church are when Paul faced Peter for his flip-flopping before the believing Jews concerning believing Gentiles (Galatians 2: 11, 12) and when Paul had a disagreement with Barnabas over John Mark to the point they decided it would be better to part ways for awhile. (Acts 15:36-41). It is inevitable that we will not always agree with fellow Christians on every issue. As Christians it is OK to disagree agreeably with one another when different views are discussed. The Spirit of Christ admonishes us to be agreeably disposed to one another in love even when someone has an alternative view in mind. Paul may have disagreed with his fellow Christians yet he never allowed bitterness to lead to the festering of his heart. He was a Christian with a definite point of view but his spirit continued to see his fellow Christians in the light of God’s love.

We Christians do tend to collide with one another on occasion but when it happens we ought to never allow it to bring division. When any part of the body is cut off it dies. It’s all right to have opposing opinions and at times it is a healthy thing for the body to have diverse input and suggestions. Healthy anger is sometimes good as it can help to change intolerable situations. But rage and bitterness have no part in application of our lives. Total agreement is impossible in some discussions and that’s OK, the thing Christ wants us to do is remain open and loving.

Even though Paul had a serious contention with Peter and with Barnabas it did not affect the outcome of their relationship to one another as brothers in Christ. As long as we are in these human bodies it will be inevitable we collide with some brother or sister. This is not always comfortable but stewing in our anger and resentment drives a wedge into our relationship with Christ and with our brothers and sisters in the family of God. The Lord Jesus admonishes us to forgive whatever grievances we do have. It is what the Lord calls us to do. It is what He has done for us.