The smoke cleared revealing the cannons
as volley after volley deafened the ears to the cries of the fallen soldiers.
The cries of the wounded were unheeded. Life oozed from gaping wounds as the
lifeless bodies lie scattered as a patchwork of Union blue and Confederate gray
carpeted the once peaceful land. Yet the war that pitted brother against brother
Within church after church, Christians
experience a spiritual civil war…a war that often results in a church split!
This war, although not as physically bloody, is just as damaging as bitter
salvos of spite are fired at the man on the right. Angry accusations are hurled
at the woman on the left. Sides are galvanized as Christians fight against
Just as the North took the side of
freedom for the slaves, and the South stood on the side of slavery, church
members quickly gravitate toward a specific side of a volatile situation,
allowing alliances to form based on personalities and friendships. Suddenly the
both sides collide in a waltz of church member manipulation. Pitted against each
other are family and friends and, instead of maintaining a church unity required
to serve God, not man, Christian love and understanding evaporate,
exposing, in their place, the ugliness of man’s self-righteous attitudes.
When the smoke of spitefulness and
unkindness fades, a young Christian will question Christianity. A mature
Christian having previously been embroiled in a church spilt will question
whether to ever again become actively involved with a church. Fueled by
conflict, a congregation will separate, and the unsaved will sneer at the
seeming hypocrisy of Christianity!
Vital soul winning which once thrived
in the battling church will be snuffed-out and lay lifeless on the field of
evangelism. Scripture informs that “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth
out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.” (Proverbs 26:20)
As a church faces mounting dissension, only one side exists – the side of
Christian love – the side of Jesus Christ!
The spiritual ‘civil war’ wages on
because many Christians who are caught up in the church’s chaos allow human
emotions to govern their thinking, they listen as ‘self’ whispers, “YOU are
right”. Regrettably not all sides of a problem can be correct. With this in
mind, everyone, regardless of their opinions, must keep as their primary goal
the glorification of God; a glorification that can only be achieved through
gentle words and actions. Proverbs 15;1 tells us that “A soft answer turneth
away wrath, but grevious words stir up anger.” Strife, bitterness, gloating,
resentment and deliberate rejection serve only to delight Satan!
God created man with the ability to
think, to form opinions, therefore, opposing opinions will certainly exist.
Nevertheless, opinions need to be rooted in truth and not shaped by inflamed
sentiments such as personal preference, pride and one-up-man-ship. When gossip
and rumor are used as ammunition by either side, many hearts will suffer deep,
spiritual wounds and the cries of those who seek unity and healing will be
blatantly ignored! Even ore terrifying is the reality that both sides will
muffle the cries of the unsaved, as self-absorption becomes the focus instead of
godly obedience and service. Gleefully, Satan will rejoice as God’s people war
against each other rather than war against him!
Whatever the point of contention,
Christians must vigilantly guard their hearts by rapidly dispatching ‘self’ from
their thought process. This can only be achieved by immersing oneself, as well
as the church, in prayer; prayer that God’s will be done, and not the will of
man. Only by seeking God’s will, and being obedient to it…can a church’s
turmoil, regardless of it nature, stave off the ruinous result of becoming a
church with ICHABOD (the glory is departed) written above its door! (Revelation
As changes within a church take place,
Christians must remember that nothing occurs without the Lord’s knowledge.
Therefore, all church members should acquiesce to these changes with total trust
in God, and allow the church to heal! It is God’s church – not ours!
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto
thine own understand. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy
paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)