1 Corinthians 1:10 NLT
'Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.'
Years of operating as a consultant, guiding businesses through change processes, has taught me that securing alignment is a noble aim but an elusive goal. So many organisations use the word ‘consulting’ when they actually mean ‘informing’. I have been asked to facilitate days of staff consultation, when it is clear senior management have made decisions which will not be subject to review in light of the staff’s input. This breeds bad faith and loses and demotivates skilled people.
Sadly, the Church behaves the same way. We appoint leaders by methods far from consultative and lean heavily upon some intangible quality, such as anointing, to establish their authority over the rest. Not sure this is quite what’s meant by the priesthood of all believers. Even such anointed leaders share the same Achilles heel of insecurity, and can act as much out of their human fracture as their divine anointing. I was once just such a leader; brash, confident, yet equally uncertain. I was exposed through personal circumstance. What appeared initially as a failure proved, in fact, to be the point at which God was able to break in properly and invite me to view myself and God from God’s own perspective.
Jesus speaks of truth while we massage it in an attempt to preserve another’s ego or protect our own shame. When this veiled insincerity breaks down, conflict erupts and the body goes to war with itself. Anyone who has observed an autoimmune disease will know this has but one tragic conclusion: death.
Paul reminds us that our disagreements and divisions are an expression of our failure and not the firm defence of the truth. Failure to encounter Christ in my enemy is failure to love Christ at all. Yet that is hard. How I struggled when I felt unjustly scapegoated and sacked from my Christian position. I organised my own pity party and planned how I might damage those I saw as against me. Now, what part of Jesus had I failed to grasp? Slowly I walked a path of recovery, one that continues today. I found who Christ truly was and understood who I really was intended to become.
QUESTION: How do you contribute to church unity or division?
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you said blessed were the peacemakers. Help me to become one of those.