DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Aren’t Christians supposed to love each other? We joined a church after moving to a new city, and all the people seem to do is bicker (often about the smallest things). I’m a newcomer to the Christian faith, but I’m getting discouraged. — C.P.
You’re right; Christians certainly are supposed to love others, especially their fellow believers. Jesus’ words couldn’t be clearer: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
When we don’t love, however, it’s because we haven’t allowed Christ to take control of our lives and fill us with his Spirit. I often think in this connection of the Christians in the ancient city of Corinth. Most of them came out of a pagan background, and it was hard for them to understand what it meant to follow Jesus in their daily lives. Paul, in fact, had to rebuke them because they weren’t getting along.
But Paul didn’t give up on them — and neither did Christ. Instead of condemning them or turning his back on them, Paul urged them to look at Christ and seek to be more like him — and in time, they did. Perhaps God has placed you in this church to be an example to others of Christ’s love and mercy.
Pray for those in your church who can’t seem to get along — and pray especially for your pastor. Pray not only that they’ll stop bickering, but that they’ll commit their lives more fully to Jesus and allow his love to fill their hearts.
Almost nothing pleases Satan more than for Christians to squabble among themselves, because it makes unbelievers laugh at the Gospel and assume Christians must be phonies. But it doesn’t need to be that way — and it won’t be, when God’s people humble themselves and seek to do his will.