Division seems to be at an all-time high among brothers and sisters in Christ. Every way we turn there is more strife, increased hostility, and over-the-top bickering. And it doesn’t appear that it’s getting any better.
At this point, any thoughtful Christian must ask the question: what can we do to stop this? May I suggest the answer to all of the unnecessary division is asking ourselves this important question:
Is he your brother?
Of course, you could insert she and sister there as well, but I’m using he in a general sense.
What upsets me greatly seeing all of this division is the fact that, in the vast majority of cases, it’s one brother in Christ attacking another brother in Christ. It’s in-house debate. How we talk with unbelievers is one thing—and I kinda sorta wrote a whole book on that—but how we interact with our family in Christ matters all the more.
I know part of the problem is some may look at another Christian and say, “I don’t believe [insert name] is a Christian.” That’s another conversation and, a lot of the time, says more about the person who is on the attack than the one who is being accused.
With that said, much of the division can be decreased if we remember we’re fighting with our fellow Christians. Our Lord commands us to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. And, if he is truly in Christ, you will spend eternity with him one day—so why do you go on the attack so often?
This is not to say we shouldn’t have good faith debates. There is nothing wrong with having cordial, constructive arguments with other Christians. But that is certainly not what goes on 90% of the time. Instead of constructive arguments, we witness incessant bickering, not giving others the benefit of the doubt, and so on.
For example, let’s say John Doe tweeted that he believes system racism exists in America. If you disagree, instead of going straight for the jugular by calling him a Marxist and that he is secretly embracing left-wing ideology, you could ask him why he believes that. You treat him like a brother—because he is one.
It’s when we are too quick to assume that everything hits the fan and we have to walk through the muddy waters of division. We have forgotten how to speak with those we will spend eternity with in glory.
Does all this mean we forsake truth? Of course not! Truth should be the foundation of all our discourse. But this discourse should be saturated in love for our fellow believers.
Some perhaps will believe I’m oversimplifying the debates that go on. I don’t believe so. I do think there is a simple solution to decreasing all this division.
Do you believe the person you’re attacking is a brother or sister in Christ? If so, let that change how you speak to them. Ask questions to understand, not accuse. We can progress forward in our conversations with love if we just ask the question: Is he a brother?