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Unity of the Brothers

Most of the frustration of being a mom is children fighting.
How do you create an atmosphere where fighting doesn’t happen?
Well, God created that perfect world.
And man still fought.
Why?
Man is given a choice.
And now on top of that man is fallen, with a sinful nature, bent on doing wrong always.

But as a mom, I want my children to get along.
What did I do?
When they fought over a toy, I took it. (Sometimes I warned them, sometimes I didn’t.)
Or I set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes, then they’d switch. 
(They’d soon grow tired of this—no one else wants it? Why play with it?)
Legos and other choking or special toys could be played on the table only, where baby couldn’t bother them.

I think, because I had boys, they didn’t get into verbal battles (that’s more a girl thing??)
But physical? That’s boys. See Why Men Fight?
Joey made sure he wrestled with them A LOT.
By giving them avenues where they could be aggressive, in a good way, they didn’t need to show dominance in a bad way.
Distraction works sometimes.

We also spent a lot of time OUTSIDE.
When the witching hour came, (EVERY DAY AN HOUR OR SO BEFORE JOEY CAME HOME), I’d have dinner ready and we’d go outside, where they could jump, run, and use their energy constructively, rather than be confined inside asking for trouble.

When they got older, and too old to spank, Joey would have them sit on the coach and hold hands. When they’d punch or pinch each other with the other hand, he made them hold both…of course they could kick each other…But by then, they’d cooled down and could go about their separate ways.

But that doesn’t eliminate the sin nature. 

Joey and I consistently prayed that our boys would be friends, then and now.
We've seen their care for each other today as answers to our prayers.
You see, we could only instruct and encourage them to try harder to control their wants.
But God must help to make them want to do good. 
It's a heart issue.

Peace only comes when the heart is changed.
Foundations must be the same.
And God is present.

If I tried to “make unity”, even when my son, say lied to me, it would not be unity.
It would be a truce—a time bomb waiting for an explosion.
He doesn't want to change.
If I don't address the heart issue, it is only a matter of time before another episode happens.
Why? 
Because my son did not repent and make restitution.

Without repentance, restitution is not possible.
I can forgive him, but he won't be restored to the same level of trust as before. 
Without confession, sin stands between us.
And the next time, because there will be a next time, he will be harder to reach.

And unity is not possible.

Same with God and us.
We cannot have God’s peace, without repentance. 
God provided our peace—through His Son. 
Without accepting God’s terms, we have no peace.

Unity demands recognizing the same foundation.
And making peace on God’s terms.
And accepting His standard—the Bible.

What a Muslim defines as peace is total annihilation of anyone not Muslim.
World peace cannot happen, according to a Muslim, until I am dead and everyone else that doesn't believe as they do.
That’s not God’s peace.
We don’t have the same foundation.
It doesn’t matter what we say or do, we will never have peace with a Muslim.

When churches unite with other churches of like faith, we can have peace.
The key is “like faith.”
Because our foundations are the same, peace is possible.

What about within the same church? Shouldn’t we be unified?
Romans 12:18 commands us, if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
It takes two people in agreement to have peace between them.
Churches have a doctrine for a reason.
It states what we hold as true and right and what we are to live by.
By having the Bible as our rulebook, not our book of suggestions, we operate with a standard.
If some member doesn't believe the Bible is their rulebook, then there cannot be peace and unity.
The foundation is not the same.
We don't operate by the same rules.
Nor can we extend peace. 
In fact, that person will create disunity by their actions. 
They don't live as if they're accountable to the Bible.

Is “peace at all cost” what God wants in His church?
Often it is easier to cater to that individual, after all, who wants to confront?
By catering to their disobedience, we do not get peace.
We may not be visually "fighting" but there better be a battle inside of you!
And that time bomb is waiting to explode—if he disobeyed the first time without repentance, what's to keep him from doing it again—especially since he doesn't operate by the Word?

God did not spare any cost to give us peace—He sacrificed His only Son.
But that doesn't mean peace is easy for us either.

As a mother, I am not loving my son if I look the other way when he does wrong.
I am to confront, correct, rebuke and encourage him.
(That's also what the Bible does. See 2 Timothy 3:16.)
To do what?
Confess his sins and repent. Change his behavior.
That's not encouraging! But IT IS.
In fact Proverbs 13:24 says whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.
When I correct my son, it shows I love him enough to want him to live like Jesus.  

Should the church of God do anything less for those we love?
By confronting another believer who has sinned, we cause conflict. 
But that is our responsibility.
James 5:19-20 says, If someone among you wanders away from the truth and is bought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from the wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.

Ezekiel warned that if he saw his brother in danger and failed to warn him, he would suffer the same danger that would fall on his brother.

I didn’t correct every little thing my sons did wrong. 
That’s where I Peter 4:8 is helpful. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
To cover sin is to forgive it. 
We don’t nit-pick our brothers. We don’t correct every little thing they do wrong.

So how do we know what we are to correct? 
That's where prayer comes in.
As we pray, God leads us either to confront our brother or continue to pray for our brother.
Prayer deepens our relationship with our brother.
It also helps us to evaluate our own motive, so we aren't like the Pharisee with the blank in our eye telling of the splinter in another's, though we are all sinners needing to be changed.

We are to spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24.

Without this confrontation and accountability, church becomes just another club where all go, have a nice time, but go home unchanged.
Church is the body of Christ—we all must work together.
But to do that, we must be able to correct, admonish, and spur one another to good deeds.

We do not change without problems.

Proverbs 27:17 says, Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Sparks fly. Metal pieces are chipped away. But the blade becomes sharper. 
Useful for the Master.
Church should help us be more like Jesus.
If Christians aren't changing—becoming more like Christ, the church isn't doing its job.
Do we like being corrected?
Of course not.
But it is necessary for change.
Not change for it's own sake, but change to be more like Christ.

How do we keep our doctrine untainted and pure when wolves come to destroy it?
Confront.
This is when unity is challenged. Shouldn’t we just get along?
This is when we hear “love one another.”

John MacArthur said, “False doctrine cries the loudest about unity.
Listen carefully when you hear the cry for unity because it may be the cover of false doctrine encroaching.”

Truth cannot unite with falsehood. It all becomes false.
That's why we must stand on the Word of God.
If members or even elders don't follow what's clearly in the Word of God, do they even believe it?

Ezekiel was a watchman for the Israelites. (Ezekiel 33:1-12, See Are You a Watchman?)
He proclaimed dangers that would weaken their walls, hinder their growth, destroy their ministry. 
How did the people respond to Ezekiel’s message?
They rejected his message. They persecuted him.
He was just the messenger!
He stood for truth.
He loved his people—they didn’t want to be corrected. They wanted to do their own thing.

We need to be people who are willing to confront in love for the sake of truth regardless of what others, even leaders, say.
Unity of brothers?
Not when you compromise truth.
Only when you use God's Word as a standard— not only in Word but in deed.
Then and only then will churches reflect what the Psalmist said. 
How blessed that brothers dwell together in unity. Psalm 133:1.


Displaying 1 comment

Great article, Sonya. Lots to think about and apply. It's so true that REAL love is willing to confront the wrong, not just say we aren't suppose to judge. (Which is NOT what the Bible says, despite what one hears some say.) Thanks for your thoughts, they are always so helpful.

I write about what matters...to you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what matters...to Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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