Blessed are the peacemakers

Start the Unity Process. This means we should be proactive and take the first step. Saints, we are to lead in this world. One reason many are unwilling to take the first step is pride. It’s pride that breeds quarrels, or contention, in the first place. Proverbs 13:10~Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. (NLT) Pride, it prevents unity from being restored. It holds us in an unwillingness to forgive and it often starts with But. James asked where do quarrels and fights come from? Your pride, desires, pleasures. So if we want to begin the unity process, we must first let go of our pride. Then, we must obey Ephesians 4:3~Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. (NLT)

If we have a problem or a complaint about something or someone in our church or life, what do we do? If it’s a problem with a person go directly to that person. Pastor, that sounds good and all BUT…Jesus, when He was preaching His sermon from the mount, said in Matthew 5:24~leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. (NLT) Make amends, don’t let life or it’s problems fester. 

We went on a missions trip to Mexico some years ago, and Tim got a small jab cut next to his shin. He thought about doing something but it was small and figured it would go away. A week later he came home and got really ill. When he went to the hospital the discovered a red line on his leg making it’s way up to his growing, it was heading for his heart. Three days, thousands of dollars, an illness that almost cost him his life, and oh yeah, a nice cavern the size of silver dollar, which drained for three weeks. That is when we realize the importance of dealing with issues when they first come up. Leave the sacrifice Jesus said. Ephesians 4:15~Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. (NLT)

Do you want to be like Jesus Christ? Then we must learn how to open the channels of communicating in a spirit that is conducive to reestablishing unity. When the truth in love, even if we can’t agree with the other person, we can agree to disagree. In my experience, most conflicts in life stem from miscommunication or a misunderstanding. And the only way to resolve the problem is to communicate in Christian love. Our Takeaway: Be a peacemaker. This means when there is disunity in any of our relationships, we must obey the command of Romans 12:18~Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. (NLT) In other words. God says if we are not at peace with someone, it should not be our fault, because we have tried. In John 17:22-23 Jesus prayed that we as believers would be one as He and the Father are one. Praying that believers be brought to complete unity as a witness to the world that He is the Son of God.

Just say no

We should not take up someone’s offense at church, at school, work, or any other place. If there’s a problem or an injustice, we should go through the proper channels, or procedures, to resolve it. We should never gossip about it or try to get people to choose sides. Let me share three great ways we can Be Fellowship Unifiers.

As a child of the 80s—1) Just Say No Many of you remember Nancy getting up to tell us just say no. Well, we should still say no to drugs but today in our social sharing craze we need to say to Gossip! Nothing destroys unity like gossip. (ψιθυρισμός psithyrismos) Gossip is talking about people behind their backs, in the Greek, it is whispering slander. This speaking is negative and not intended to help or protect. Did you see Brother Donald’s combover? Must only have nine hairs in total. Yeah had my iPhone at the ready when the wind blew but lost the shot in the glowing reflection. I know it’s funny, but that does not make it right. The Bible teaches gossip is a horrible sin. The reason we should just say no to gossip is Proverbs 26:20~Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip, a quarrel dies down. (NIV) Nothing causes divisions and quarrels in our lives, like gossip. Just say no! Don’t even encourage it by listening. 

Support church leaders. One of the best ways we can be unifiers of fellowship is to follow those the Lord places in our lives as leaders. The only reasons church leaders should not be followed are if they’re guilty of teaching false doctrine, having a moral failure, or being incompetent. That’s why we find this command in Hebrews 13:17~Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watching over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. (NIV)

Pastors are also called overseers in Acts 20:28 and 1 Peter 5:2, which means they are to oversee everything that goes on in the church. And know that God holds them responsible to oversee the spiritual health of the flock by preaching and teaching the Word of God. Pastors should that this responsibility very seriously, and so church members. James reminds us in 3:1~Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers (διδάσκαλος didaskalos) in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. (NLT) This means all church leaders, all pastors, must give an account of their leadership before God. One day, I’ll stand before the Lord and give an account of how I have led my church, both as I taught and how I lived. Being a pastor or teacher in a church is a solemn responsibility because the spiritual condition of a church or Bible class is at stake.

Greater Love

If you as a couple are not one in your Christian faith, your kids will probably be turned off completely toward Christianity. Therefore, if you cannot agree about your faith, don’t get married. It will be a source of conflict for the rest of your married life and be devastating to your children. I have discussed faith issues for years with couples who are frustrated they said it would be ok, and it’s not. Ask a married veteran whose spouse won’t come to church and let them share the life strain with you. Being united with one another requires we Be Unifiers of the Faith and Fellowship. 

Be Unifiers of the Fellowship. The Bible teaches there should be no divisions among believers in Christ, and we should be perfectly united in mind and thought, according to 1 Corinthians 1:10~I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions (σχίσμα schisma) among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. (NIV) The word (σχίσμα schisma) means to split or tear. Paul is saying that the church is not to have splits or tears. It is the word from which we get schism, a split or division in a group.

Now a schism often occurs when we take up offenses for someone else. Suppose a family member or a friend is in a disagreement or conflict with someone. We then take up the offense and try to get everyone on our side, while the other person does the same. These actions only increase the disagreement or division. Here’s the principle of not taking sides Proverbs 17:9~Love prospers when a fault is forgiven (covered)(כָּסָה kacah), but dwelling on (repeating)(שָׁנָה shanah) it separates close friends. (NLT)

When we forgive we’re covering, laying to rest an offense, we don’t go around talking about the offense and thereby encouraging people to take sides. The more people who know about an offense, the more serious it becomes. Many small disagreements or hurts have split families, and even churches, because an offense was not covered. The result is shared at the end of the verse, it separates those who are close. Thus, it’s a sin to take up an offense and repeat it to other people, thereby causing more disunity and conflict.