8 Minute Read + Scripture readings

TODAY’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 (CSB): “We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers and sisters. The one who does not love remains in death. Everyone who hates his brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.”

REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

Unfortunately, too many churches are known for their squabbles. In fact, I used to live in the so-called “Bible Belt” and there seemed 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 those 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 a core biblical belief or because of grievous sin in the church. However, it was my observation that many of the disagreements occurred for much lesser offenses.

As I write this, I am aware of a church in Tennessee that will have a churchwide vote tomorrow (November 24). As you read this, the vote will have already taken place. So, as I think about the vote and what’s on the line, I believe it is inevitable that a church split will happen and a second church will form. It’s not over doctrinal error. It’s not over grievous sin. It is because saved(?) people are acting like lost people and pushing their power around. Satan will almost certainly gain a victory tomorrow.

While ugliness happens in churches across our land and new churches are formed, 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 simply leave. And the disagreement never gets resolved. Hurt feelings, gossip, slander, unforgiveness, disunity, disregard, and so many other things prevail. And Satan gets another victory.

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.

1 Peter 4:8 (CSB): “Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

But love doesn’t simply create a pleasant environment in which we all can flourish. It also shows the eternal condition of our hearts. How do you know if you are headed for Heaven or Hell? Just investigate your heart during times of conflict.

Just look once again at our Verses for Today.

1 John 3:14-15 (CSB): “We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers and sisters. The one who does not love remains in death. Everyone who hates his brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.”

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 relate to them in love, then we are living in direct opposition to the life Christ has called us to live.

One caveat: Loving our brothers and sisters doesn’t mean we have to be best friends nor does it mean that we must spend time with them. Just observe Jesus. He only had a few select men that he regularly surrounded Himself with and He certainly didn’t feel compelled to spend time with those who made His life difficult. He sometimes loved from a distance.

So, let’s bring this plane in for a landing with one closing statement:

Since we are daily recipients of unconditional love from our God regardless of what we have done, let’s give that love to each other.

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