Getting On Together

We are told that many people have a calling in this life when they feel the call to the clergy, the medical profession, the sciences or many other careers.  However, the greatest calling of all is afforded to those called and chosen by God.   It is a privilege, not to be underestimated in any way. Being a true Christian carries many duties, obligations and requirements.

The Church of God should be a homogenous group, all pulling in the same direction, with the same goal of growing and overcoming, so that we “may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).   In order to achieve that goal, we must pull together as the people of God, not pull apart.  

I have noted over my 40 years in the church that some members are too quick to spot what they see as a problem, use it as an excuse to disappear to another Church of God group and then it can happen all over again in their new place.   And, the same can be said of a minister who wants to be in charge – he just finds a reason to leave and set up his own group – and the number of groups proliferate!   I don’t believe for a minute that it’s a practice that is pleasing in God’s sight.   We will all have to answer for what we do – and don’t do – and we had better be very careful.   The problem with people not getting on together is not a new one – in fact such problems are as old as the hills.

In his paper, “Neuropsychology of Conflict: Implications for peacemaking,” Douglas E. Noll makes these observations:   “Foreign policy was based on the assumption that rational beings could sit together and work through international disputes and conflicts. Economists built an entire field of study on the assumption that consumers acted ‘rationally’ in maximizing their utility. People engaged in peacemaking, from the interpersonal to the international level, assumed that despite the emotions of conflict, people fundamentally were rational.

“The truth is that we are 98 percent emotional and about two percent rational. Thus, the assumptions underlying many disciplines and practices, especially peacemaking, need significant revisions. By being reactive, we might reject the problem, give up, or feel inadequate to deal with the problem. If the problem is persistent, we might struggle or exit. As the conflict develops, we perceive it as a threat, and we may blame, attack or withdraw. These behaviours constitute our fear reaction system.”

These comments, whilst mainly addressing a secular viewpoint, are nevertheless equally important in the lives of those of us engaged in the Christian way of life.

When there is such an eclectic mix within a church group, it should be easy to see that if our conversion leaves something to be desired, then there is quite a capacity or possibility of potential problems with others.   But it should not be so.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).   Getting on together means seeking peace at every opportunity!    Do we try and make peace or are we always right in our own minds, irrespective of the other viewpoint?   In other words, can we be entreated and sort out, quietly and patiently, whatever stands in our way of being unified with other brethren?

Let us never forget that Satan is in the mix, stirring people up whenever and wherever he can, and he is the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10).   If we think that none of this applies to us, then we had better be careful because anyone who thinks that he stands should “take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

And if we can’t get on together, then we are hardly in the business of letting our lights shine (compare Matthew 5:16).  

We see world events coming to a climax with seemingly little time left before Christ’s return, and it is futile to concentrate on anything that will detract us from looking forward to that wonderful event and all that it means.   We simply don’t have time to waste our energy on unfruitful exercises, unnecessary conflicts and ungodly practices.   If we do get involved in such action, then we will be playing straight into Satan’s hands.   He is angry and “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).   We are told to be sober and vigilant but often fall prey to the adversary’s clever tactics.   We haven’t any time for that; all of our time should be spent on living God’s way and doing as His Word instructs us.

But none of what I’ve written today should be news to us.   We know what we should do, but how much do we practice it?  

The answer may be a matter of life and death!

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