Q: Why can’t Christians seem to get along with one another? We have a few people in our church who do nothing but criticize everything (including our pastor), and they just generally like to make trouble. Haven’t they ever heard that Christians ought to love one another? — N.C.
A: The Bible is clear: love for others should be the mark of anyone who claims to follow Christ. Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
Over the years I’ve talked with a number of pastors who had experienced some kind of trouble in their churches. Sometimes they admittedly were at fault, perhaps neglecting their pastoral duties or failing to prepare their sermons adequately. But sadly, in many cases they had become discouraged solely because a few disgruntled people opposed them, just as these people had opposed their predecessors.
Why did they oppose them? Perhaps they wanted to control everything or always be the center of attention. Or perhaps they were driven by jealousy or anger or some other hidden motive. But whatever the reason, they were opposing God’s servants and blocking his work, and that is always wrong. The Bible warns, “Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged” (James 5:9).
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Don’t let the sins of a few keep you from Christ, and don’t let their negative attitudes poison you and your support for your church and its pastor. Instead, pray for them, and if God gives you an opportunity, confront them about their need to be filled with Christ’s love. In addition, your church’s elected leaders may need to intervene. The Bible says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace” (Colossians 3:15).
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or visit www.billygraham.org.