One only needs to look at how one denomination lambasts another to realize that Christians aren’t immune when it comes to the lure of criticism and conflict – we all must continually strive toward keeping the peace.
“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity, and let me not eat of their delicacies!”
Even though Jesus calls on us to spread the good news of His gospel, it seems that a large number of preachers direct a whole lot more energy toward tearing down other denominations and/or pastors for what they teach from the Bible.
Sometimes it seems like Christianity’s biggest enemy is other Christians. And that’s exactly the way Satan likes it.
You would think that Christians would know better, giving the teachings in the Bible. But the fact is, Christians aren’t any less immune than nonbelievers. Every living human soul has to battle the constant temptation to be led astray in their thinking by Satan.
This has been true since ancient times, and despite our advanced knowledge, it’s not any less true today. That’s why the apostle Paul wrote:
“For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder.”
–2 Corinthians 12:20
“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.”
– Proverbs 10:12
Quarreling and slander are not how we are to work things out. The answer is to replace criticism with love, understanding, and forgiveness wherever possible.
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;”
The best move we can make is to avoid getting in the middle of things that lead to quarrels.
“Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,”
–2 Timothy 2:23-25
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
– Matthew 5:9
Jesus said, the second greatest commandment is love.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
– John 13:34-35
As Christians, we must never forget Christ’s call for us to first love others as ourselves and behave in like manner.
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
Even when we must criticize others, we need to do it from a place of love so that we live with tolerance in an atmosphere of peace.
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
If we can’t live in peace with others now, why would we expect we could develop a peaceful attitude that would allow us to live harmoniously with God? How can we attain holiness without peace in our hearts?
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”