Some people are always looking for a fight. They enjoy disagreements and they are masters in the art of instigation. You may have people like this in your life, or maybe this is a struggle of your own. Either way, having these tendencies in your heart are both problematic and toxic. People who are antagonistic and enjoy verbal combat are agents used to breed disunity. This is a recipe for disaster in families, marriages, friendships and the church. The reality is, there is really no place for this type of attitude in God’s kingdom. Proverbs 6:19 (CEV) says that God doesn’t like those who, “stir up trouble in the family.”
Paul also addresses the toxicity of this type of behavior in I Corinthians 1:10-11 ESV. Here’s what he says, “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers.” Paul was told that there was a problem of bickering in the Corinthian church and he addressed it without hesitation. The apostle approached the situation in Corinth with urgency because, unity is a priority.
You may remember the Los Angeles riots of 1992 where Rodney King so famously coined the statement, “Can’t we all just get along?” His intent was to ask people to stop fighting and be unified. Although this was a noble request, it lacked the power to produce the desired result. Paul’s approach was slightly different. He didn’t merely say to the church you shouldn’t have divisions among you, but he also gave the secret ingredient to achieving true unity. Paul appeals to the church, making an urgent request for God’s people to agree. Agreement is the foundation of unity. As Christians, there are several things we must agree on. We must agree that we’re saved by grace, through faith in what Christ accomplished for us through His death and resurrection. This is the Gospel. We must also believe our salvation is lived out through obedience to God’s word. Having this as our foundation is unifying in and of itself. This causes us to agree, have the same mind and have the same judgment. If you find yourself fighting over small things, go back to the Gospel. When you see division rearing its head in your family or marriage, go back the Gospel and live it out in your relationships. The Gospel of Jesus is the only thing that has the power to transform and unify the hearts of people.
Unfortunately, we can’t just “get along”, we must agree. And in order to do this, our central belief must be in Christ and His word. This is the goal for the church. This is what will keep us from quarreling. The gospel shapes our mental framework and changes our worldview. The gospel changes the way we think about ourselves, about life, and others. The gospel keeps us from quarreling. Until we allow the Gospel to change us, it will be impossible for us to agree and be unified. The primary way we can fight against divisions, is to remember that this is not about us, it’s about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Excellent word! Love “Agreement is the foundation of unity”.