You would have thought they were encrusted with diamonds the way she went on about them. And then she wore them to church the next morning, showing them off with pride. I still cringe when I remember those earrings. Now that was an Oscar-worthy performance by a mother.
Every Sunday, in many churches, other performances are not so worthy. When two men in a church have a personality conflict, or simply a disagreement about a passage of scripture, it does not take an expert to tell. What do they do? They may shake hands politely when they pass, but they never cross the room to do so with an outstretched palm and a genuine smile. They never make a point to amen one another in Bible classes about the things they do agree on. They never find ways to compliment one another when one has done a good job with a prayer, a talk, or anything else. They certainly never try to encourage one another. Rather, they take issue with one another at every opportunity. And they think no one notices. They think their acting job has us all fooled.
They might as well be wearing tee shirts imprinted with “I Don’t Like Brother So-and-so.” I have had new people in a church say to me, “What is this that’s going on between those two?” I hope they would be ashamed to know that.
When Paul told the Corinthians they should speak the same things…be…of the same mind and the same judgment, 1 Cor 1:10, he did not mean we have to agree on everything. Just a few pages later, in chapter 6, he tells them exactly how to act when they disagree with one another. He never told either party to change their minds, but he did tell them they should respect one another and get along anyway.
“The same mind” we are to be of is a mind to make this body work, to put Christ’s mission for us ahead of our own rights, opinions, and desires. It’s the mindset we tell our young people they must have when they marry: I will do whatever it takes to make this marriage work. Then they see us tear apart the Bride of Christ because we didn’t get to lead singing as often as Brother So-and-So or think Brother Whozit is all wet in his views about the Holy Spirit.
Paul uses the Lord’s Supper and the image of the body of Christ to tell us the importance of our unity in 1 Cor 10:16,17. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break is it not a communion of the body of Christ? Seeing that we who are many are one bread, one body, for we all partake of the one bread. The sacrifice of that body, the shedding of that blood is what made us one, and we remember it every Lord’s Day.
When I divide that body, whether in actuality or simply in spirit, I am saying that my likes and dislikes, my interpretation of scripture, my status in the body, is more important than the sacrifice that saved me. Who would dare? Unfortunately, too often, we all do.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Eph 4:1-3.
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