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Monday, March 15, 2010

Question of the Week: Why Infighting?

"Love, friendship and respect do not unite people
as much as a common hatred for something."
~ Anton P Chekhov

Why do Christians fight amongst themselves?
... insult and condemn each other with such hatred?
from Susan Isaacs

Every four years, vicious infighting occurs within Republicans and Democratic parties during the presidential primaries. The moment their respective candidates are chosen, parties band together against a new "enemy." As soon as a president is elected, he'll call for unity against the nation's true enemies: foreign attack, domestic trouble, federal bureaucracy.

Divisions exist unless individuals lay down personal agenda for the sake of the common good.

In time of crisis, people band together for survival. Throughout history, leaders have rallied people to unite in working for a common goal, especially when people feel oppressed by circumstance. But in time of relative comfort and security, people are less motivated toward the self sacrifice required for singleness of mind and purpose.

Around the globe, those who serve, love, and live for Jesus Christ suffer various degrees of persecution. In nations where they are targeted most violently, they closely unite for survival. In places like the United States, we can afford the luxury of disagreement—and we indulge in it.

Unity requires active self-sacrifice and purposeful relationship-building. Human nature desires indulgence not sacrifice. To overcome division is to overcome human nature, and requires powerful motivation. As Chekhov observes, hatred is a powerful motivation.

Christians have far greater power and motivation in Jesus Christ.

Once we are reconciled to God through His Son Jesus, the Holy Spirit lives in us and gives us enough power to vanquish division for the sake of God's Gospel and glory. He doesn't give us enough power to stand alone, because that would work against the Gospel's message of love. Ironically, the more we learn about being a Christian, the more sufficient we may start to feel, and the less we may think we need one another.

But each individual is a treasure, with unique talents, skills and perspectives to benefit us all. Every single person is valuable and needed. Those the world might write off as dead weight actually give us strength.

Unless Christians narrowly define core beliefs which unite us and broadly define all else as peripheral, we become as divisive and impotent as politicians.

For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body ... Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be... Those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable ... There should be no division in the body, but ... equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
1 Corinthians 12:13-27 (NIV)

© 2010 Anne Lang Bundy
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This post originally appeared at Bullets & Butterflies on March 13. To see additional comments, click here.


  1. I'm enjoying your posts over at B&B each Saturday.

  2. Stubbornness, pride, rebellion, greed, conceit, selfishness, hatred ~ so hard for humans to lay them down. You would think mankind would get tired of fighting. I know I do.

    It seems that most people won't even take the time to try to understand where others are coming from. (Philippians 2:3 ~ Could we possibly consider that what someone else has to say might possible hold a better solution than our own?)

  3. Loved your wisdom and insight. We do fight becuase we are sinful and weak. And today's culture of 'every man is right in his own eyes' certainly doesnt help!

  4. Anne,
    I believe Satan knows how "impotent" Christians are and what a poor witness they provide when crossed up with each other. For this reason, he attacks brothers and sisters in Christ and churches especially. I think if we don't acknowledge, and in fact, discount his power we've lost most of the battle already. This discussion reminds me of Phillip Yancey's book, "Soul Survivor." The theme of the book is how Yancey's faith has survived despite the church and what he encountered in his experience with other Christians.

    Thanks for your wise thoughts...lots to think about.

  5. T ~ Thanks! I've wanted to do Q&A for some time. I'm grateful to the Lord and to Russell for the opportunity.

    Patty ~ It took me a few weeks to address this question. Just reading it made me want to cry. I've no doubt it also grieves the Lord.

    David ~ It would be nice to think Christians aren't guilty of the "right in our own eyes" mentality which characterizes the world. Only by walking closely with the Lord and yielding more every day will we overcome.

    Jeff ~ Thanks for the compliment. If we would only remember our strength with each other, who the real enemy is, and Who we serve.

  6. Your posts are awesome sis.

  7. Denise, I'm glad to be your sis. :D


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