When a well-known pastor was asked by a sceptic, ‘Do you believe there is such a thing as a real devil?’ he smiled and replied, ‘Have you ever been to an annual church business meeting?’ Seriously, if you have been a church member for any length of time, you know that strife rears its ugly head in the family of God just like it does everywhere else.
Paul and Barnabas, a brilliant ministry team, allowed their differences over John Mark to separate them to the point where they could no longer work together. Later Paul changed his mind, but it wasn’t something where it was possible to turn back time. He appealed ‘to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News.’ (Philippians 4:2–3 NLT)
Strife hinders our prayers, takes our focus off lost souls, and makes us ineffective in our ministry. We must learn to respect each other’s talents, perspectives, and positions instead of envying them. In other words, learn to disagree without being disagreeable. The Bible says: ‘For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.’ (James 3:16–18 NKJV)
God blesses peacemakers (see Matthew 5:9), so when strife arises in your church, make it your mission to sow seeds of peace!