Love + Unity in the Church
John 13:34-35 (NLT) So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
When you think of the church today, is unity and brotherly love the first thing that comes to mind? It's a shame to say, but not only have many people dropped out of church because of judgmental attitudes, gossip, and just plain meanness, but the pastors are quitting too! In a world where we as Christians are criticized or persecuted, the last thing we need is attacks from our own spiritual brothers and sisters. This will only push people further away from Christ.
When you hear that a believer said or did something that you don't agree with, pray for them. Yes, if you know them personally and you see them going down a destructive path, warn them, but do it with love. Don't go out spreading their faults to others. They are God's children just as we are, and His desire is that they are restored in right standing with Him.
There are also situations where you may not agree with the beliefs of Christians from other denominations. The important thing is that they have a personal relationship with Jesus, have repented of their sins, asked Him into their hearts as their Lord and Savior and surrendered their lives to Him. That's the main connection we have with one another. With some things that are less relevant, we just need to agree to disagree and keep the spiritual bond we and the body of Christ were designed to have. I have news for you... your particular religion or church will not be the only one in heaven, so we just as well learn to get along while we are here on earth.
The fact of the matter is... we need each other. We need to be a part of a church family while recognizing we have a much larger connection with the family of God. We need to be a soft place for Christians to land as we pray, point them to the Word, and encourage them to get back up and run back into the arms of Christ. If judgment is the first thing you think of when you hear a brother or sister did something you disapprove of, pray that God softens your heart and allows you to see them through His eyes of love. The Body of Christ needs to work together to advance God's Kingdom with unity and love!
1 Peter 4:8 (NKJV) And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
Matthew 18:15 (NKJV) “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother."
Ephesians 4:29 (NLT) Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
Proverbs 11:13 (NKJV) A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.
Romans 12:9-21 (MSG) 9-10 Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody. 17-19 Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”