Love and church splits

3dd2e-one2byear2bbibleTODAY’S BIBLE READING:

Daniel 11:2-35
1 John 3:7-24
Psalm 122:1-9
Proverbs 29:1

TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

1 John 3:14-15 “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”

REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

Unfortunately, too many churches are known for their squabbles. In fact, I live in the so-called “Bible Belt” and there seems to be a church on every other corner. This is considered normal for many communities in the SouthEast.

But, when we consider why there are so many congregations, it only takes a little bit of historical study to realize that many of our churches started because of disagreements. Folks left a church and formed another one. Eventually, a disagreement arose in that new congregation and folks left to form another church.

Maybe the disagreement was worth having since it was over doctrine or tolerated sin. However, many of the disagreements occur for much lesser offenses that are essentially trivial.

While new churches continue to be formed these days because of church splits, it is a more frequent occurrence for someone to get upset and simply leave the church. Rather than form a new church, they just start attending the church down the street. A disagreement occurred and rather than try to work it out in a loving way, they just left. And the disagreement never gets resolved. Hurt feelings, gossip, slander, unforgiveness, disunity, disregard, and so many other things prevail.

This is remarkable when we consider how Christians are supposed to behave. We are called to love each other. We are going to hurt each other from time to time with our words and actions but love allows us to easily and quickly forgive each other.

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)

But love doesn’t simply create a pleasant environment in which we all can flourish. It also shows the eternal condition of our heart. Just look once again at our Verses for Today.

“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3:14-15)

This is not a small thing. It isn’t an ‘extra’ to Christianity. It is the essence of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. If we are holding onto animosity toward someone and refusing to show them love, then we are living in direct opposition to the life Christ has called us to live.

We readily embrace the love that God has for us in spite of the fact that we, all too often, break His laws and stray away from Him. We can always count on the fact that He is loving us and will gladly take us back.

Since we are daily recipients of that kind of love, let’s give that love to each other.

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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