Monday, August 30, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Division

A Church Divided Isn’t What Jesus Started
A devotional by Gena Anderson

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.” – 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 (NIV)

History is full of conflict. World wars, civil wars, and religious conflicts fill the pages of history books. Humanity has been fighting for something, it seems, since the dawn of time. 

The Bible is filled with tales of nation against nation, Jews against Gentiles, and religious leaders against a Savior. People fighting should come as no surprise to us, yet many feel shocked, angry, saddened, and exhausted with all the division around us.

As we who live in the United States watch our country and our own friends and family be divided by their views on everything from racism to vaccines, we all react differently. Some fight back when met with resistance, others back down in retreat, and some go on offensive attack. I’ve stayed quiet, spoken up, offered sympathy, and everything in between. Recently I considered the damage that has resulted not to our country and relationships, but to the Body of Christ.

Jesus Christ came to create a united new body of people (Ephesians 2:14-15). Don’t misunderstand, He didn’t do that by accepting sin and rolling past ungodly conduct. Jesus was clear on God’s expectations, but He didn’t compromise his position on the whole “love one another” thing while making his points. That’s something we can’t say about how we’ve been acting lately.

When asked which commandment was greatest, Jesus says first to love God and second, to love others (Matthew 22:37-38). As Christians, we can’t allow our feelings to control our words and actions because those emotions often betray our love for the Lord and serve ourselves more than others. James 1:19-20 tells us to be quick to listen and slow to speak, as well as slow to become angry because doing so will cause us to dishonor God. When we reverse those recommendations and are quick to speak in anger and slow to listen, we are making God and Christians look bad, and dividing the church that was intended to unanimously carry Jesus’ message of love to the world.

So what are we to do when the world seems to be turned upside down and we feel in conflict with so many? If we listen to Paul’s words in the verse above, we would do good to remember that everything we think isn’t meant to be said out loud. Furthermore, the things we feel we have the right to say and do might need to be set aside for the good of others. In fact, I don’t see anything in those top two commandments about anyone's rights.

Jesus loved all of us so much that He gave His life for us, and silently endured persecution and crucifixion. We can surely bite our tongues for the sake of bearing our cross. In the name of Christian love, we can seek to listen and understand more than we strive to be heard. When we feel ourselves frustrated with the unprecedented situations around us we can take a moment to remember we serve a God of power, provision, and presence who wants us to point others to Him.

When we speak and act, we can let the Holy Spirit lead us to discern how to do so in a way that is rich with the love of God and others, and void of arrogance and pride. I am going to try to do better, what about you?

Let’s Pray: Lord, help us remember that you are always in control, and we have no reason to fear. Forgive us for allowing our emotions to control us. Help us to call on your Spirit and follow its prompting, and to be more skilled in listening than we are in speaking. We are so thankful for and humbled by your never-ending love. In Jesus's Name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Gena Anderson is a Jesus-lover, writer, nurse practitioner, and blogger who loves to share wellness information and inspiration with the world around her. 

She is the author of The Well Woman: A Journey to Wellness Through Loving Jesus, which is available on

Gena proudly holds the title of wife, mom, and the world’s most average CrossFitter. She loves writing, reading, traveling, and brownies. She's working on that last one.

Gena lives in Hutto, Texas with her husband and two children.

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