Guest Author - Dountonia S. Slack
It is pure fantasy to believe that Christians do not or cannot have disagreements/fights/conflicts. You see, quarrels happen even in the church. We squabble over the trivial, the complex, and the seemingly ridiculous. Sometimes we fight the right fight for the wrong reasons or the wrong fight with manipulated information from trusted resources. Yet, according to Ephesians 4:3, we have a responsibility to put aside personal agendas, pride, power struggles, and our “rights” when it comes to keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. But, how do you know what is worthy of defending especially when the issue at hand is causing discord and division within the Body of Christ?
Scripture is clear the only fight worth fighting is the good fight which is the fight that brings praise, honor and glory to Christ (I Peter 1:7). This is done by calling sin sin, loving what God loves, and allowing these uncomfortable situations to make us more like Christ (Romans 8:28-29). Destruction of truth, purity, integrity and Christian character are issues of faith that are worth the good fight (I Timothy 6:12) because “if the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do” (Psalm 11:3)? Not to mention, we are to battle in a spirit of reconciliation and in accordance with the successive steps of Matthew 18:15-17.
Our motives must be in check when confronting others with offenses by first taking the matter to God in prayer. Ask Him to lead us in love (I Corinthians 13:5), humility (Ephesians 5:21), and submission (Philippians 2:3). Always ready to forgive and to confess any wrongdoing on our part. Then, we must stand firm on the Word of God, have the wisdom to know when to apply church discipline, and to separate company when unrepentance is stubbornly/pridefully practiced.
We have a duty to “let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill [our] lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives” (Colossians 3:16a). Allowing the light of Christ to shine on infirmities, to enable the offender to truthfully confess the offense and reconcile/restore fellowship to the rest of the body. This joy-filled expression of worship is difficult to understand, but the acknowledgment of guilt and a life that bears fruit as a result is the key to maintaining unity in the Spirit.
My prayer is that we allow God to use us as an instrument of peace. Stand on the side that is right according to what God says is right. Rely on the Spirit to lead us as we navigate through conflict mirages that are designed to distract attention from the real issue(s) at hand. Pray for those who willingly devise evil plans to divide and conquer for selfish reasons. But most importantly, I pray we fight the good fight, finish the course for the sake of righteousness, and keep the faith (2 Timothy 4:7) as God gets all the glory.