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We are looking for unity, and what we find is people taking sides against each other, resulting in argument and discord. 1 Cor 1:10 I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 1 Cor 3:1 But I, brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, as babes in Christ. What Paul is saying is that when people take sides against each other, dividing themselves into camps with labels to identify who is OK and who is not, you recognize it by the labels: “I belong to …” this group. All too often, this is the reality in the church: Wherever two or three or more are gathered … at least two of them are not getting along. Jesus made some amazing promises about community, this connection between Christians that is described by the Purpose Driven Life as “Purpose 2? Don’t flatter yourself that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. So … before you begin to speak, do a little lumberjack work and Tell the Absolute Complete Truth to yourself first. An amazing church lies at the far end of the “tunnel of conflict” if we are willing to endure some discomfort as we tell the truth to ourselves and each other. Some quotes in italics are from Day 19 of The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002).
Real fellowship, whether in a marriage, a friendship, or your church, depends on frankness. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brethren. The day finally came for rescue; the rowboat came to shore to pick up the survivors and the first mate walked up to the little village of three huts.


35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” If you imagine taking verse 35 literally, Jesus is saying that if a church actually loved one another by the standard Jesus said, it would be so astonishing and remarkable that the entire world would have heard of that church.
Yet, how do we communicate with honesty when we feel so strongly that any honesty will lead to open warfare? The nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become.
The best definition of tact, however, still defaults to using TACT as an acronym: Tell the Absolute Complete Truth. But when your heart is right, tell the truth to others as a means of loving one another: Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love. One method God has chosen for us to grow up as Christians and become the fellowship God desires is for us to learn how to speak the truth in love to one another as we love the way Jesus loved us and spoke the truth to us. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men? We need to defend ourselves instead from the tendency to label people for whom Christ died as our enemies.
The end result is two huts on the beach, plus hurt feelings and unforgiveness that can be a lifelong barrier to spiritual growth. The fact that we have truth to tell does not remove our obligation to “love one another” as Jesus loved us from the telling. What might harm someone is AWAYS an incomplete truth – because a complete statement of truth will include the truth of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness in our our hearts toward the other person … if that is the truth. And then to do exactly that: Tell the Absolute Complete Truth, filled with love, mercy, understanding and forgiveness.


Until you care enough to confront and resolve the underlying barriers, you will never grow close to each other.
4 For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely men? When I’ve been around these kinds of feuds, it is just like that: life long, unless someone begins to pray and work for peace and healing. The group pretends it already is a community, that the participants have only superficial individual differences and no cause for conflict.
If that sort of Godly Love isn’t in our hearts, then we have something to purify within ourselves before sharing our mind with someone else. As an exercise, why not review the description above of polite dishonesty known as Pseudocommunity, and then look about the faces of the people you encounter at worship, and ask yourself: is there a truth in my heart or a hurt in my heart that I am hiding from any person here?
When conflict is handled correctly, we grow closer to each other by facing and resolving our differences.
The hurt and injustice are often all the people involved can talk about; it dominates their souls and sours their faith. As Jesus said in Matthew 7:3: Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.



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