I pegged her as a troublemaker from the moment I met her.
My pastor had identified her as the same long before I ever came to the church. Every Sunday, she sat on the back pew with folded arms and a sly smirk. No song or message seemed to penetrate her tough façade. She was a long-time member who had passively been given permission to run the church. Previous pastors had allowed it, but her current pastor wasn’t granting her the same privileges. Though her authority had been stripped away, she remained at the church until she died, continuing to spread her root of bitterness to all who came into contact with her.
First century churches were cautioned against such roots of bitterness. They might show up in the form of legalists, false teachers, or persecutors. Some were enamored with “do and don’t” lists while others simply didn’t believe in Jesus as the sole means of salvation. The church had the responsibility of rooting out these bitter roots.
By virtue of my upbringing and my profession, I’ve been associated with many churches. I’ve never found a perfect one yet, nor do I intend to. Every church I’ve belonged to had either a group or person who thought it was their God-given right to run the church. None did with sincerity, and ulterior motives were always present.
While I shouldn’t expect perfect churches and can’t control the actions of others, it’s my responsibility to help lovingly root out anything that causes dissension, lack of unity, and the spreading of false teachings.
How to do it in the most productive and wisest manner hinges on God’s wisdom which he is anxious to give. I may risk being misunderstood when I take action, but God wants right and peace to prevail in his churches. As a member, it’s my task—along with all other members, to see that they reign.
Are you being a peacemaker or a peace taker in your church?
Prayer: Father, prompt us to work for peaceful relationships in our churches.
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