The first rule of Fight Club? You don’t talk about fight club.
But I’m going to talk about it. I have to.
I want to talk about the way a mother told her daughter not to talk to my daughter because of the church our family attended.
I want to talk about the way pastors compare the sizes of their church as if they are in a locker room comparing the size of their…gym bags.
I want to talk about how we can bring up the names of people who wronged us years ago as if it just happened…and we still speak ill of them.
I want to talk about the awkward silence that can enter a room when “that” person walks in.
I want to talk about childish games of de-friending and unfollowing peope on Facebook/Twitter as if “that’ll really show them.”
I want to talk about the church sign war I saw in a nearby town – one sign preaching grace, the other law. I kid you not.
I want to talk about how there are 130 churches in my specific community instead of ONE church.
I want to talk about how “division” becomes a buzz word that actually can create division if you espouse it enough.
I want to talk openly and candidly about how brothers and sisters and Christ – even close friends and partners in ministry – can develop a “don’t let the door hit you on the way out” mindset when something goes amiss.
I want to talk about it because I’m SICK of it. Aren’t you?
The greatest strategy of our Enemy is to keep us in a perpetual state of “vs.” with each other, so we keep our eyes off of him. And he’s laughing at us. So is much of the planet.
That’s the problem, isn’t it?
We have to talk about it. Our theological differences do not give us license to look down on each other. The way others may have wronged us does NOT give us license to withhold forgiveness. Clashes in our personalities do not give us the license to not like each other. (Sorry, folks, I didn’t make that up).
Yes, we have to call out wrongs. Yes, we have to protect ourselves from false teachings. Yes, we have to preserve the unity of the church. These things can and must happen and they are painful when they do. But they must be done in love, and they must always be open to reconciliation.
Let me repeat that: we cannot do any of these things at the expense of love and reconciliation. Sure, it’s convenient to overlook it. It’s too easy to NOT talk about the fighting and the in-fighting. It’s easier to fortify our positions. It’s easy to raise up our chins at people and snort when they get what we think they deserved. It’s easy to feel prideful and think that some of us win and some of us lose, forgetting that – without grace – we are all losers.
Have we really become so Christ-less? Are we really so without grace, that we are doomed forever to stay a divided community?
Yes. IF… we don’t call it out.
Instead of fighting each other, why don’t we face our Enemy and say “No more!” I don’t care if you dunk or sprinkle. I don’t care if you’re Calvinist or free-will. I don’t care if you use wine or grape juice. Pews or theater seats. Pipe organs or bands. Suits or tee-shirts. Sunday School or life groups.
I don’t care if you’ve hurt me in the past. I don’t care if you hurt me in the future (I will allow you space to screw up, because I know I will need it, too). And honestly, if I’ve hurt you, I’m sorry. But I’m also calling you out to forgive. Because that’s the way. That’s Christ’s way.
We are ONE body. We are THE Church.
You and me, we ARE the same:
This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. – Colossians 1:21-22
If you stand blameless before God, then you should stand blameless before me. No guilt. No finger-pointing. Only love.
It’s time for less “vs.” and more co-op.
Let’s fight the RIGHT Enemy by sharing the Gospel with those who have never heard it.