We must Protect Unity 6 Biblical Ways to Handle Disunity – Words to Live by
By Pastor Lonnie G. McCowan
One of Satan’s greatest weapons is “disunity” God blesses a unified church and he also blesses a unified community, families as well as a unified business. Many churches as well as communities, families and companies have tremendous potential, but they never achieve what God desires because to many of the members spend all their time fighting with one another, and unfortunately sometimes the biggest problems is we pastor spend way too much time and energy fighting each other.
The Bible talks more about unity of the church than it does about either heaven or hell. It’s that important. Churches are made up of people, and there are no perfect people. So people get into conflict with each other. As pastors, we need to learn how to deal with those situations. Specifically, we’re called to do these six things when disunity threatens our church.
1. Avoid situations that cause arguments. The Bible teaches in 2 Timothy 2:23-24 (NIV): “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” As Pastors we need to set the example for our whole church on this issue. When a minor argument comes along, refuse to get in the middle of it. You don’t need to have an opinion on everything. Some discussions don’t deserve your participation. Focus your conversation on topics that matter.
2. Teach troublemakers to repent. 2 Timothy 2:25-26 (NIV) teaches, “Those who oppose unity we must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of deception.
3. Warn those causing trouble that their negative words hurt others. 2 Timothy 2:14 (NIV) teaches, “Warn them before God against quarreling about words. It is of no value and only ruins those who listen.” People need to know that their words have consequences.
4. Make a plea for harmony and unity. Paul did this in Philippians 4:2 (NIV). He said, “I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.” There were two very strong willed women in the church named Euodias and Syntyche who were causing so much friction in the church that Paul’s plea for them to stay united is in the Bible. Fighting in a church or a community doesn’t just affect the combatants; it influences the whole church and community as people start taking sides. Just like Paul did, at times, you’ll need to make a plea for unity directly to those causing problems.
5. Rebuke with authority if necessary. Paul teaches in Titus 2:15-3:1, these, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you. We all must remind everyone to be “Unity Minded” no exceptions and ready to do whatever is good. You may need to confront the contentious person as well, but be kind.
6. Remove them from the church if they ignore two warnings. Titus 3:10-11 teaches, “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” No pastor wants to do this but in a church this is the last resort we pastors sometime have to take, and that is to remove the contentious person from the church. You’ve got to protect the unity of your church. Sometimes that means getting rid of troublemakers.
As unity grows in your family, church, or community. The forces of darkness will do everything it can to cause division. Even well-meaning people, even believers, can be used as tools of darkness to hurt unity. It’s not always easy, but it’s what we’ve been called to do. In the community all of us must be the protector of unity!