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How to divide the Church and weaken the body of Christ

November 16, 2009

offended

Offense is an amazing thing if youthink about it.

For starters, it’s kind of a specialized branch of Pride. You’re not likely to find yourself offended if you’re humble and always on the look out for ways to love and serve the people around you. It’s usually when we feel right, or entitled, that we’re easily offended.

Offense, though, has the capacity to violently rip apart a local church – or youth ministry, or small group, or group of Christian friends – while at the same time driving that wedge of Pride deeper into people’s hearts. Because where there is Offense, both “sides” are “right.”

A friend of mine found herself offended over the weekend, and by the time we got to talk Offense was doing it’s job perfectly. She had disagreed with a group of believers and was ready to never participate in that ministry ever again.

Maybe they were wrong. Maybe she was wrong. It was probably both, in a way, but one day later it didn’t matter. She was being separated from part of the Church, and finding it harder to love a group of fellow believers.

She wasn’t going to leave the Church entirely. She wasn’t forsaking her faith. In fact, she would hardly have noticed skipping this one piece of ministry and fellowship – but who knows what God has planned for that group, or for her within it. She wasn’t about to start a church split, and she wasn’t even gossiping about it. But small seeds grow into big weeds, and you never know.

My first thought, as she was telling me what happened, was that I could talk to someone in a position of authority for her, and that person could talk to someone in that little ministry group, and they could figure it out. o.O Then I got a hold of myself.

I encouraged her to talk to the person over-seeing that ministry herself and express her concern. It wasn’t easy (in more ways than one), but she persevered and did it. By the end of the conversation, she was encouraged and restored – with new purpose – to the group. Offense tucked tail and limped away.

What offense are you harboring? Who – especially in the body of Christ – has hurt you, and why did it hurt you? Talk to that person this week (not about, to) and at the very least agree to disagree. More than that, though, take a step back and determine if, no matter how wronged you feel, Offense isn’t using you to drive a wedge through the Church.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 16, 2009 11:54 am

    Good post, Lex. Would love to see you contribute stuff like this to Wrecked.org, if you’re up for it.

    • Lex permalink
      November 16, 2009 7:23 pm

      Thanks, Jeff. I’ll take a look at that email about Wrecked again. (I saved it ’cause I keep hoping I’ll have some time.) :)

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