Don’t you just love the Psalms? I was reading Psalm 133 this morning and was moved by its simplistic yet powerful message.
“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows His blessing, even life forevermore.” When there is unity among the body of Christ, the Lord bestows blessings. Why does the body of Christ focus on our differences instead of on our similarities? We have various denominations in the Church. The differences between the denominations were established by men, not Christ. Nowhere in scripture do we read about different denominations. Followers of Christ are referred to as THE church [66 times in the New Testament]. When the body of believers bickers among themselves over things that aren’t essential to the faith, we aid the enemy is his goal to destroy the church [Luke 11:17].
Yesterday I was blessed with a phone call from a dear friend in Ghana. When I travel there, he and I minister together. We travel the country spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to any and all who will listen. In the nine years I’ve known him, we’ve never discussed the differences between our churches. We both agree Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and that is the message we proclaim [John 14:6]. Things are done a little differently in a Ghanaian church than an American church. The differences aren’t stumbling blocks because the message is the same: Jesus.
Who among us wouldn’t love for the Lord to bestow blessings upon us? I’m sure we’d all gladly stand in the blessing line. Romans 12:18 says “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” When you encounter those who do things differently than you, ask yourself this question: Are we in agreement in the essentials of the faith? If the answer is yes, then let the rest go.
I’ve heard it said “In the essentials unity, in the nonessentials liberty, and in all things love.” We need to remember the lost are watching us, taking in all we do and say, and trying to decide if we are the real deal. They don’t need to be a part of strife and dissention. There is enough of that in the world already. Their decision to become part of the body of Christ may depend on your witness. Will your words and deeds lead them to the cross or drive them further away?