Watch out for those who cause divisions. . . . Keep away from them.
— Romans 16:17
A couple of days ago we looked at the trouble that discord can cause among us as Christians. It’s sinful to have that kind of disunity, and it’s even worse to try to create disunity.
Causing dissension may be one of the vilest forms of deception we see in the church. It preys on some of the best impulses Christians have toward loving one another. It happens when a person or a group starts focusing on the flaws of others. And slowly they make that focus a central and necessary part of being in a relationship with them. Unsuspecting friends will slowly find their relationships eroding with the people who are supposedly flawed. This process has ended up destroying congregations.
Paul tells us to be on guard against people who cause dissension, and to leave them alone. That might sound like Paul is building dissension, but unity in serving Christ cannot grow if a person or group is trying to destroy that unity. Actually we often find that people who sow dissension want relationships just as badly as the rest of us do. When they are shown that having a relationship with the body of Christ means being unified with others, dissenters will often come back around, and we can welcome them back gladly.
Jesus, you offered relationships that would unite everyone with you. May we live that way also. Amen.