Last week, in a response to a request for blog post topics, a friend suggested a study on how to disagree in a godly way.
I wish I could tell you all the reasons I respect her for studying this out. But I’ll leave that treasure in heaven. (You know who you are, and you rock.)
Honestly, this is a timely and helpful topic for all of us, as we deal with our divisions and differences. They’re coming out in a major way right now.
Figuring out a biblical response to disagreement is a difficult topic.
But it’s needed. The power of unity in the church is incredibly important:
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. – John 17:22-23
Our unity is how we represent God in this world. Like Psalm 133:1 says, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”
Let’s study out how to handle conflict spiritually, so we can be the body of Christ God created us to be.
What does the Bible say about disagreements?
Although the Bible calls for us to be united, we’re imperfect. We see things according to our own perspectives, and we disagree.
Which kinds of disagreements in church are okay, and which are not okay?
How do we manage these disagreements?
It’s not up to use to judge in these matters.
Are we acting in love?
You don’t always have to speak up.
Biblical conflict resolution in the church
More practicals for how to disagree in a godly way come from Titus 3:10-11:
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – Romans 12:17-18
DON’T take revenge. As Christians, we can do this in subtle ways – avoiding them, giving them the silent treatment, causing more division through gossip.
MAKE PEACE as far as it depends on you. (This might look like shaking the dust off your feet as you let the conversation go.)
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – Colossians 3:13
FORGIVE. Forgiving doesn’t make what the other person did okay, but it releases you from the burden of bitterness and sin.
More Resources on Biblical Conflict Resolution in the Church
Carrying the burden of disagreement – love this concept from Christianity Today
It would be easier if we always agreed.
I wish we could hear critique and different perspectives than our own and not react out of defensiveness. As Christians, it is only logical to me that we are open to hearing and understanding other people; but not everyone sees it that way.
However, the Bible says that the world will know us as belonging to him because of our love for each other. And sometimes loving other people is challenging – which makes it all the more holy when we achieve it.
Let’s make every effort to handle conflict in a biblical way, and choose to build each other up in love, instead of focusing on our own opinions or knowledge. “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” – 1 Corinthians 8:1.
How do you disagree in a godly way?
How about you? What are your convictions on this topic?
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