Romans 16:17-18 I implore you, my friends, keep your eye on those who cause divisions and lead others astray, contrary to the teaching you received. Avoid them, for such people are servants not of Christ our Lord but of their own appetites, and they seduce the minds of innocent people with smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naïve
Titus 3: 9-11 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once, and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self condemned.
Its an unfortunate that all church attendees aren’t there to learn and to serve. Its also unfortunate that some also choose to make a spectacle of themselves. For them it really isn’t about Jesus, its about being seen and making noise and dividing. This isn’t a new thing, obviously Paul had to deal with it in the church from its infancy. Unless its an issue of doctrinal malfeasance, the group or individuals doing the dividing are doing the work of Satan. Pretty harsh words indeed, but who else’s bidding are they doing? Paul didn’t seem to concern himself with the feelings of the offenders, they were attacking his friends and he laid it out clear.
I’m a pretty kind and empathetic person till a troublemaker comes along. Those are my brothers and sisters being torn apart, and animosity is being created with only one affect; to destroy Gods people. There have been some that I’ve met who take great pleasure in hurting members of a church that they once claimed allegiance to. Don’t let these people walk out of the church, throw them out!
To be perfectly clear, we aren’t talking about debates over music or what flowers are appropriate for the sanctuary. We all have latitude to disagree. However when the powers that are in charge make a decision, we must accept and support that decision. Always support your Pastor. Don’t ever forget, we are there to serve, not stomp around like an impetuous little child if everything doesn’t play out as we’d like. Servanthood in church, servanthood at work, and servanthood at play are what set Christians apart from the rest of the world. The world already has enough self centered, me-worshippers, take a stroll through Walmart if you don’t believe me!
It should be said however, that when someone, who Paul described as warped, leaves under these circumstances, we still need to pray for these folks. Paul is pretty rough and doesn’t offer any kindness to division artists. They still need Jesus and Jesus still loves them and He wants us to bring them home. From my years of experience, I can say without exception, that folks who pleasure in division are some of the unhappiest people you will ever meet. They also love to bring people into their drama, family, and friends, and the larger the misery, the happier they are. They often move from church to church leaving nothing but destruction behind them, ultimately proclaiming that everyone else is messed up and only they are righteous. Some put on a glossy finish, but they are lonely and hollow inside. They need to feel the love that only Jesus can provide. I’m pretty sure that when you read the Scripture above, someone came to your mind. You may still even be angry with them, but at least show them enough grace to pray for them. They’re just messed up like the rest of the world.
Friends, I sure wish that you had no idea what I’m talking about, but I’ll bet you do. The goal is to protect the body, our brothers and sisters. If its necessary to remove part to save the body, it must be done. After its done, we need to heal, apologize and forgive fellow believers caught up in the mess. We aren’t enemies and God has a purpose for us, both individually and as a unit. Move on and refocus back on servanthood. We serve a great God and he has a plan for us and we can’t stay bogged down in the mud. That just wastes precious time. Lets pray for focus and strength to get through these things. Keep your eyes on the prize, and pray hard friends.