Recently I read through the story of Abram and Lot parting ways in Genesis 13. Due to conflict between their herdsman over land, they decided to separate. This is one of the first places mentioned in Scripture where we see how damaging arguments among believers can be.
I find it interesting that it’s pointed out in Genesis 13:7 that the Canaanites and Perizzites were living among them at that time. Whether this is mentioned to emphasize the land being overpopulated or to show that there were outsiders watching them argue, I don’t know. We do know looking back a few verses that Abram had built an alter there and was known to call upon the name of the Lord. Quite possibly these Canaanites and Perizzites were watching men call upon the name of the Lord and then argue in the next breath.
It makes me sad that this is still happening today. We continue to see fighting inside the church. And the outsiders, like the Canaanites and Perizzites, they still see what’s happening. Believers are called to lift one another up, yet so often we are caught tearing one another down in meaningless arguments.
But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. -Galatians 5:15
When we lose sight of loving our neighbor, we tend to become very judgmental and cynical. If we don’t look for good in people then we are likely highlighting the bad. This is crippling for the body of believers as well as reaching non-believers. Unity among believers is so important.
Followers of Christ must exhibit love. Love is an action and also not an option for a believer, but rather a commandment.
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. -John 13:35
That. That is how people should know us. That is how people should see us. That is how people should recognize us. They will know who we are by how well we are loving one another.
Russell Moore once said, “Do not engage in foolish controversies that have nothing to do with the mission of Christ.” Too often we see Christians harboring bitterness over disagreements that have nothing to do with the gospel. Sure it is okay to disagree with another believer, we may never see eye to eye in this world, but it must be done in love.
I LOVE this verse:
…that they may all be one just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
Jesus prayed for us. He himself specifically prayed those words for us as believers. And much of His prayer focused on unity. Doesn’t that make you a little warm and fuzzy inside? He thought it so important for us to be one with each other and in Him and the Father that he asked for it in prayer. He loves us. He loves us so much. Knowing that should give us confidence as we work for Him and as we shower His love among others.
We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
Let’s love well.