June 16, 2021
“A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge attractive, but the mouth of fools blurts out foolishness.” – Proverbs 15:1-2
Those in the world often criticize the Church for the way we seemingly never get along. How can a group who claims to share the same core beliefs…beliefs that we claim are the greatest Truth that has ever been revealed to mankind…seem to constantly disagree on those beliefs? In past responses to that question, I would say something like, “sound theology is foundational and, therefore, worth fighting for.” But as I reflect on more than 25 years of ministry, I have realized we often concentrate much more on the “fighting” part of that sentence than we do on the “theology.” We concentrate on winning a fight instead of winning a brother. We see him as our adversary, not our partner in ministry. He becomes an enemy instead of family. We would never say this out loud of course, but the transformation has often taken place in our heart.
When we create an enemy, we see that person as wrong on every level instead of simply off the mark on one issue. And when he is wrong on every level, we no longer have open ears to hear the wisdom of the Holy Spirit that also lives in him. If foundational theology is truly as important as we say, then our desire should be to listen as much as we speak. If we want to correct our brother when he has strayed from Truth, then we should desire just as deeply for our brother to correct us when we have missed the mark. So, next time we disagree, let’s speak gently to one another and let’s make knowledge attractive instead of blurting out foolishness.
Almighty God – the One who has demonstrated to us perfect unity in Your existence as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – please fill us in a way that creates indestructible unity within the Church. Let us have a love for the Church that passionately desires Truth and defends it in loving-kindness toward one another.
In Christ’s Service,
Pastor Shane Cannon