Aren't Christians supposed to be kind and loving? Then why do they have such a hard time getting along with each other? Our church has been going through a conflict over some things that probably aren't important, and I'm not sure we'll ever get over it.
Yes, Christians certainly are supposed to be kind and loving, especially toward each other. Jesus’ standard could not be clearer: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
But Christians aren’t perfect, and I want to assure you that Satan will do everything he can to cause discord and conflict among them. After all, his goal is to turn people away from God – and one of the ways he does this is by convincing unbelievers that Christians aren’t any different from anyone else. When unbelievers see Christians squabbling among themselves, it gives them an excuse for their unbelief. Why believe in Christ (they say) if He won’t make any difference in our lives?
Sometimes debates and disputes among Christians can’t be avoided; we need to take a stand when essential Bible truths are under attack. But often conflicts arise simply because someone wants to be in control, or for some other selfish (and sinful) reason. With sadness, the Apostle John wrote that “Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us” (3 John 9).
Pray for your church (and especially its pastor and other leaders) and urge others to pray also. Pray that God will heal these divisions, and that they’ll soon be forgotten. But above all pray that every member will put Christ at the center of their lives. When Christ rules our hearts, His love will fill us and Satan will have no room to maneuver.