This Problem in the Church is Hurting Everyone

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When God's people take sides barking and biting at each other, we hurt the message of Christ. It's a problem in the church that hurts everyone. #churchproblems #churchdivision #churchleaders #Jesus #Faith

As Christians, you and I represent Christ to a broken world and I’m wondering about the messages we are sending.

Paul talked so often about the importance of unity in the church because we are supposed to be focused on sharing God’s love. If we can’t love each other … why would anyone want what we have?

Paul wrote in a letter to the Church in Corinth…

I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters. Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ.”

1 Corinthians 1:10–12

We could simply change the names to say…

“I am a follower of Beth Moore.”
“I follow John MacArthur.”
“I follow Joel Osteen.”
“I follow Andy Stanley.”
“I follow _____________.”

Paul went on to say, “God sent me to…”

preach the Good News—and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power.

v. 17

When God’s people take sides barking and biting at each other … we hurt the message of Christ. And it’s a problem in the church at large.

Whenever Rev and I talk with someone who is struggling to surrender their lives through faith in Jesus, most of the time their problem is with the church.

The Church! And we ARE the church!

We are not called to build up an individual church leader’s ministry. We are called to tell people about Jesus.

We are all sinners … even our church leaders. Even the best of teachers don’t get it right all the time. And when we sinful people divide the church … everyone suffers. Both believers and non-believers get hurt in the process.

Social media only intensifies the problem by putting it all out there on a larger scale but the truth is, this has been a problem since the early church. Which is why Jesus prayed…

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as You and I are one—as You are in me, Father, and I am in You. And may they be in us so that the world will believe You sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and You are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that You sent me and that You love them as much as You love me.

John 17:20–23

Wow, we’ve really messed that up, haven’t we?!

Christianity has been divided into so many groups, how is a non-believer supposed to know who or what to believe?

When God's people take sides barking and biting at each other, we hurt the message of Christ. It's a problem in the church that hurts everyone. #churchproblems #churchdivision #churchleaders #Jesus #Faith

The Solution to The Problem in the Church

Focus on Jesus!

My prayer is that we would stop cheering on church leaders with whom we agree or bashing the ones with whom we disagree and that we would become intentional SEEKERS of God’s truth … of His Kingdom.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and He will give you everything you need.

Luke 12:31

I wrote a few weeks ago about my love of reading the Bible. The following is from that post…

Although, I used to be an avid reader of books written by Bible teachers, I’ve observed that although there are, I’m sure, many books which are Biblically sound … there are also others that contain a culture pleasing bias.

I don’t have the time or the energy to join the arguments about which teachings are Biblical and true and the ones that aren’t.

I feel God has called me to tell people about His transforming love.

Maybe He has called you to that as well.

I get it! It’s easier to talk about what is current and trending on Facebook and Twitter. It’s easier to focus on the current problem in the church than it is to start a conversation about Jesus and the Bible.

But Jesus is the One who really matters, isn’t He?

Your relationship and mine to the risen Christ is the only thing in life that has eternal implications.

The Life Application Bible Notes say the following about Paul’s words to the Corinthians…

We can spend a lifetime accumulating wisdom and yet never learn how to have a personal relationship with God. We must come to the crucified and risen Christ to receive eternal life and the joy of a personal relationship with our Savior.

Which is why I try so hard to stay out of divisive conversations.

I don’t want my personal “opinions” to turn someone away from knowing the joy of a personal relationship with Jesus. And I’m guessing you don’t want that either.

When God's people take sides barking and biting at each other, we hurt the message of Christ. It's a problem in the church that hurts everyone. #churchproblems #churchdivision #churchleaders #Jesus #Faith

So, what can we do…

1. Love people!

All people! Even when it’s hard or when we don’t agree.

Jesus said…

“I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

John 13:34–35

We are called to love like Jesus.

And I know people love to reference the times Jesus called out church leaders in order to justify what’s happening today. But we have to remember, Jesus KNEW what was in their hearts. You and I don’t have that ability. And we never will, we are called to love … not always agree, but love.

2. Tell them about Jesus!

Encourage people to become SEEKERS. Point them to the Bible and invite them to find out for themselves. Tell them your story … the way knowing and loving Jesus has changed your life.

You may think you don’t have much of a story or that you don’t know what to say but it’s not up to you and me bring people to faith – that’s the work of the Holy Spirit. You and I are called to “go and tell” and trust God to do the rest.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:20–21

You and I have no idea what God is able to accomplish in someone else’s life when we simply share our stories.

When God's people take sides barking and biting at each other, we hurt the message of Christ. It's a problem in the church that hurts everyone. #churchproblems #churchdivision #churchleaders #Jesus #Faith

3. Pray.

Pray for the church.
Pray for our church leaders.
Pray for everyone.

I read a devotion titled, “Is Prayerlessness a Sin?” in the book Power in Prayer by Andrew Murray the other day. In it he wrote…

We must see that prayerlessness, with the excuses we make for it, is a greater sin than we thought. It means that we have little taste or desire for fellowship with God. It shows that our faith rests more on our own work and efforts than on the power of God. It shows we have little sense of the heavenly blessing God waits to shower upon us. It means we are not ready to sacrifice the ease and confidence of the flesh for persisten pleading before God. It shows that the spirituality of our life and our abiding in Christ is too weak to allow us to prevail in prayer.

I have to admit, his words made me squirm. I’m guilty. We’re all guilty. We’re all sinners.

Which is why we need Jesus!

He is the power to forgive sin. He is the One who forgives sinners.

He is the One who is able to transform lives and unite His people.

He is the reason we are called “Christians.”

One final thought I’d like to share from the Life Application Bible Notes.

The young church at Antioch was a curious mixture of Jews and Gentiles. It is significant that this is the first place where the belivers were called Christians (or “Christ-ones”) because all they had in common was Christ—not race, culture, or even language. Christ’s love crosses all boundaries and unites all people.

May it be true of you and me. May we be the ones who focus on sharing the message of His love – by His grace and for His glory!

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  1. Lana M Fortin says:

    So very true. We all need remind in of this.
    Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Lana! I’m so glad you visited. God bless you!

    2. When our love for our Heavenly Father, His Son, Jesus, and also the Holy spirit is without fraud, we never allow ourselves to be hostile against righteousness, but we remain diligent against deceitful and destructive behavior. Nor can we allow ourselves to gossip and separate close friends, instead we seek reconciliation by including all offended/offensive parties in evaluating destructive issues/affairs. Humility and genuine concern/care for one another is not optional a healthy church.

      1. Amen, Iris! Thank you for sharing this truth and encouraging us on the way we can truly build up one another in the church! God bless you!

  2. Pam Ecrement says:

    Amen, amen, Deb! Well said indeed!!

  3. The love of Christ should ever be our unifying factor, Deb. May we all pray harder that divisions which hurt the church today be healed. Thanks so much, as always, for your inspiring words shared here.

    1. I can get so wound up about fighting within the body, Martha. We are all in need of God’s grace and mercy. I keep praying we will do a better job of extending the same to one another. I so want people to want what we have through Jesus’ love. Blessings, my friend!

  4. Karen Wiseman says:

    I was trying to leave a prayer request but it wouldn’t let me. I must not be doing something right, I did pray for other’s and it let me. Karen

    1. I’m so sorry that happened, Karen. I hope you’ll come back and try again. Thank you for praying for others. God bless you!

  5. This was truly such a needed and powerful post. My pastor was teaching a lot of the same points in yesterday’s service and actually often does. Our church has been studying revivals of history and also what revival means, where it starts, ect. We are about to start an open prayer time and one of our prayers is that other body of believers will join arms and that we will see revival in our community. I am praying it will be much like “The Great prayer revival” back in the days of the depression. Unity in the church as a whole is so very needed as we need to set aside our opinions as you mentioned and focus on “Love God. Love Others.” I enjoyed this so much, Deb.

  6. Thank you so much for this and all of the things that you write. I always come away better for it and am blessed to have been led to you. There is division among Christians and even division among individual churches. If we keep to God’s Word we cannot help but be healed. Everyday…all the time.

    Thank you, Deb. Please keep it coming. We need these reminders.

  7. Those verses from John 17 have been forefront in my mind recently as well. Our unity is a huge part of our witness! Also love what you said about turning to the Bible instead of seeking only books about the Bible. I very much believe we all need to become students of God’s Word itself and allow His Spirit to be one of our foremost teachers.

    1. It is an important part of our witness … the love of the Lord who unites us. I am so glad you visited and really appreciate your kind encouragement. Thank you and God bless you!

      1. Thank you i will read your material

  8. Melissa Hoyle says:

    I agree with you about church hurt…I know so many people who don’t want anything to do with God because of watching people in the church and watching the lives of hypocrites. There are many churches that are full of judgemental people who openly hate others, who are fault finders and sin sniffers….but, what do you think about Acts 20? Do you think that it’s part of a pastors job to warn his flock about false teachers? I am just curious what your take is on this!

    1. What a great question, Melissa! When my husband was pastoring a congregation, he consistently spoke to them about studying God’s Word themselves. He also spent time in every service praying for individual prayer needs of our people and also offered many opportunities for group Bible Study. He wanted people to learn the truth themselves and believed the Holy Spirit would speak to them as they did. As far as false teaching, he didn’t call out the teacher but would openly answer topical questions as we studied the Bible in groups. Finally, he preached against gossip, slander, judgment, etc. and preached for truth, kindness, love, gentleness, and respect. I believe it’s possible to point people to the truth and trust the Holy Spirit without calling out people by name publicly. It’s one of my concerns about the way we use social media.

      I believe the Biblical approach that Paul continued to tell people was that they needed to KNOW the truth so they could stand strong in faith when God’s Word is twisted or distorted. Thanks so much for visiting and for joining the conversation. God bless you!

      1. Something I forgot to add, Melissa, is that if a congregation has someone within the church who is spreading false teaching, then I believe it is up to the pastor to take that person aside personally and talk with them. Following that, I believe Matthew 18 would apply as the best way to handle it going forward.

        1. Melissa Hoyle says:

          Thank you so much! I truly value your wisdom! I have been thinking about this post a lot lately as I see so much division over Kanye. It just breaks my heart.

          1. It breaks my heart, too, Melissa! I keep praying that the Lord will heal and unite us … that we might focus on sharing His love and giving Him glory. Thanks so much for visiting and for taking the time to join the conversation. God bless you!

  9. Well said, dear sister. I was one of that heart broken cause by these problem. And still facing it & bleeding inside. After all I believe God’s Words will speak the truth no matter how wrong people trying to manipulate it by their own benefits. Thinking of this give me hope & courage & continue to trust in HIM.

    1. I am so sorry, Kelly! It breaks my heart when we in the church hurt one another. I am praying for you and asking God to send you people who will pour His love into your life and bless you with His love. God bless you!

  10. After reading some of my devotional this morning, I decided to jump on Pinterest to look for quilt patterns. But apparently God wasn’t done showing me just how much He loves me and all of us. This post was so well written and makes such a good point. I’m in the process of finding a new church home and have been a little nervous about choosing one that we will ‘fit into’ and that will love and accept my family as it is. I could use some extra prayers that He leads us right to where we need to be. And that wherever we end up, it’s solid teaching specifically about Jesus and God’s Love.
    Thanks and God bless Deb????

    1. Thank you, Starr! I’m lifting you and your family up in prayer and asking Him to show you exactly where He wants you … a church home where you can be blessed and be a blessing. Thanks so much for visiting! God bless you!