Dear Ones,

The Lord reminded me this week how important it is to keep unity in the Body of Christ – your fellow believers and the church.  Christ died for all of us in all of our imperfections and faults.  He sacrificed to reconcile us to God, and that should be our goal with one another.  None of us is perfect, and we should not point out or criticize imperfections in one another or the church, but rather should focus on building up the Body of Christ and edifying one another (Rom. 14:19; Eph. 4:29).  When a fellow believer is serving Christ by serving in the church, our goal is to find the good and not point out the imperfect.  As we serve, we want people to look on our heart and not on our imperfections, and we owe others the same.  God uses only imperfect people anyway.

So, let’s stop the gossip and the backbiting.  It is not pleasing to God (2 Cor. 2:20).  Be a healer in the Body of Christ, not a hater.  Have you ever been in a situation where someone came to you to complain about a servant in the Body of Christ?  I’m sure you have.  Do you know what a great thing to ask them is:  “Have you spoken directly to the person you are complaining about to tell them how you feel?  Are you willing to get in there and do the work to make the situation better?”  If the answer to either of those questions is “No,” then the complainer needs to keep quiet and stop the backbiting.  I have seen so many instances where criticism or condemnation from a fellow-believer causes another believer to leave the church.  Please, let us not be the cause of others leaving our church.  Don’t agree with the backbiting, and don’t be its source.  When you agree with the person complaining, you become part of the problem rather than part of the healing.  You give the complainer an excuse to hold dissension in his heart and to potentially leave the church and even spread the dissension like a cancer and possibly take others with him.  Let’s be healers as Jesus is the Healer.  Let’s build up the Body of Christ, our church!

1 Corinthians 1:10 in the New Living Translation says:  “I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.”  Now, I realize this Scripture is referring to divisions regarding doctrines of the church, but the principle still gives us a good foundational truth.  Seek peace; seek harmony; look for common ground with your fellow believers who are serving in the Body.  No one is suggesting here to wink at sin.  That is not what I am talking about.  I am talking about supporting those who are doing their best to be of service in the Body of Christ.  It is our goal to support and not to tear down.  Think of it this way:  Let us all strive together to present ourselves as the spotless church Christ is coming for, building up our glorious church and presenting ourselves to Christ.  Can you feel His joy?  Can you see His smiling face?

Let us remember Paul’s final greeting to the church in Corinth when he said, “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you (2 Cor. 13:11).”  That’s what we want in our church, not only so that the church will flourish and grow, but so that our families may also live in peace and that we may also be a witness to the lost.  Do you think anyone wants to come to a church with striving and discord?  No!  There is plenty of that in the world.  Let’s make our church stand out from the world.  Make it a place where those who enter feel the peace, the love, the harmony, the unity.  Let them feel the difference, and it will draw them; it will bring healing and restoration.  Let us be the glorious church God intends for us to be.

Contend for Harmony,

Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this:  Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption.  I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me.  Amen.