The Hidden Cost of A Divided Christianity

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When we are divided we are not as effective at being disciples or making disciples. If I believe that my preference trumps our unity then I have bought the lie that my feelings and opinions trump Jesus’ instructions.

Bottom line – Our disunity and division cost the kingdom new disciples.

There are people we might have reached had we not wasted so much time on sectarian arguments. There are people who might have known Jesus had we not gotten hung up on traditions.

In Mark 9 the disciples are divided. It is classic “guy stuff”…the kind of thing that happens when 13 men travel together. They are arguing about who is the greatest. Not just trying to figure it out (as if it matters) but arguing over it! Who caught the most fish…or the biggest fish…or who drew the biggest crowd while teaching.

That’s pride. Pride divides.

If that isn’t enough, maybe to draw attention off themselves, when confronted about it they ask Jesus about a guy they saw casting out demons in Jesus’ name and they tell Jesus they told him to stop. Jesus said, “Whoever is not against us is for us.”

Hear that again – “Whoever is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:40)

I mistook that for many years to mean “whoever is not exactly like us is against us.”

I let pride run rampant and allowed my feelings of superiority to undermine my mission.

Not only that, any disciples I made had the same sectarian DNA embedded firmly in their bones. What a shame.

There is a real cost to division – when churches and Christians can’t get along, it costs us fruit we might have harvested because we are distracted. When we allow people to divide over silly things it allows us to define what being a disciple means in a way that doesn’t align with the scriptures. It allows us to exert personal sovereignty (to make up rules) rather than follow what Jesus actually said.

Jesus said, “whoever is not against us is for us.”

Do we really believe that? Or do we think we know better?

Jesus also said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” (Mark 3:25) He said that in regard to Satan not fighting against himself but the same is true for God. When God’s churches spend more time on friendly fire than they do on reaching people, loving and caring for people, feeding people, and helping people…that house cannot stand. I can’t help but wonder if that is partly why so many churches are dwindling away – because we choose comfort over obedience. That is not true of every church that is in decline but I cannot help but think that if we reached out to people we might not be in decline.

Let us stop bickering over made up issues and minutia and let us put our hand to the plow to be obedient to the task Jesus set before us. The cost of division has been way too high but we can change that in one generation.

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