“Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.” –Proverbs 26:20
Scripture Reading: I Corinthians 3:1-9, 18-23
The last thing mentioned in Proverbs 6:19 that God hates is one who sows discord among brethren. Brethren would be any group of people who have a close fellowship and common ties that bind them together for the common good.
God is always trying to bring peace and harmony to people’s lives and especially to the church. He is trying to bring all mankind together through Christ. In fact, Christ’s kingdom will be made up of those who will get along. The various divisions in the world are the doings of man, not God.
This doesn’t mean we are to embrace that which we do not believe, and certainly we know there are differences. Nor does it mean that we have to get our own way. Sometimes compromises are necessary for the common good.
God’s energies are directed toward reconciliation rather than division. So, those who are causing conflict may actually be working against God.
A primary example of discord, are the conflicts within a church. Strife and divisions abound. All through the centuries since Christ, churches have split causing bad feelings among those who should be friends. Most times the work of Christ has been hindered and a poor example was set before the world. In local churches it is surprising how often this is caused: not by some great doctrinal differences, but by pettiness and bickering over little things.
- What is the major cause of most strife and discord? Proverbs 16:28; Proverbs 17:9; Proverbs 26:18-28.
- What does this do to the victim? Proverbs 18:8; Proverbs 26:22.
- Contrast what is found in Proverbs 11:13. What is good for us to remember? Proverbs 20:19; Proverbs 26:20.
- What may be another cause? Acts 13:13; Acts 15:36-40. Did this strife remain? Colossians 4:10; II Timothy 4:11.
- What did God say to Israel in Leviticus 19:16? What does He say through David in Psalm 15:1-3?
- What was the chief concern of Jesus’ last prayer before His death? John 17:20-23. How does strife among brethren lessen the impact of the Gospel? How should we do things? Philippians 2:14-16.
- What was a problem in the Corinthian church? I Corinthians 3:3; I Corinthians 6:1, 5-8. How did Paul say to solve the disputes among brethren? I Corinthians 6:4-5.
- What did Jesus say would be a sign to the world that we are His disciples? John 13:34-35. How does John reinforce this concept? I John 3:23-24.
- What strong teaching does John give concerning loving our brethren? I John 2:8-11; I John 3:14-18.
Politics in the church is an extremely sensitive issue. It can be one of the most counterproductive elements of the church to spiritual unity. Much discord has been sown in the past because of the clashing self-wills of church members. Many who were once close spiritual brothers grew distant and unfriendly to each other over disagreements in church affairs. Remember that our adversary, the devil, will use anything to destroy the unity of the faith. Satan is masterful at the “divide and conquer” strategy. True “brotherly love” and “readiness to forgive” will stop the enemy from his divisive work. Love and forgive!