An Amazing FactThe Beulah Baptist Church of Gibson, Louisiana, spent the spring of 2011 embattled in a feud that resulted in a restraining order and an arrest. The seven members against whom the restraining order was filed claim that the church was violating its charter by using pastoral appointments to fill church offices instead of election by the trustee board. They also allege that the pastor is not properly accounting for church finances or allowing member oversight.
Feuding in ChurchThe conflict between the seven members and the rest of the church became so intense, the pastor filed a restraining order to prevent the seven from harassing, threatening, and following other members. At a court hearing for the restraining order, a judge admonished church members to resolve their disputes in a Christian manner. Nevertheless, days later, one of the seven was arrested after making multiple phone calls to and visiting another member’s place of work.
Church feuds are not as uncommon as they should be—churches feud with other community groups or businesses, with other churches, and even within themselves. Even more common still are strained relationships between members and hurt feelings kept under wraps.
The apostle John has a blunt message regarding this behavior: “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death” (1John 3:14). John calls us from protecting our own interests to self-sacrifice: “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16). Self-sacrificing love is so important that Jesus told the disciples that the world would know they were His disciples by their love for each other (John 13:35).
Can the world tell if you are His disciple?
Key Bible Text: “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).
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