How to Mend the Division
It was 1987, during my morning prayer, and I was complaining. That sums up much of my prayer life back then. I would begin with a pleasant greeting, then launch into my God’s To Do List. That morning my frustration was at an all-time high.
I had spoken at a conference for pastors, ministers and church leaders on Christian reconciliation. Few were interested. Reconciling broken relationships was not a priority, much less a command. “Why don’t they care? Why don’t they listen?”
After my rant, God said, Thank you, my righteous son. I was not aware of this. I’ll get right on it. Well, not exactly. It was more, This is not about you or them. It is deeper than you know. I love them. Why don’t you? So I want you to start a ministry.
If You think that’s best. Wait. What?
The ministry would focus on the command to encourage one another as long as it is called Today.1 But there was something God did not mention. This ministry would bring me discouragement, hostility and rejection like I had never known.
Odd, isn’t it? A ministry devoted to encouraging others receiving such reactions. But it did. It still does, and almost always from pastors, ministers, and church leaders. Often I prayed, “Why are they against us, lying to us, undermining us?”
Each time God replied, This is not about you or them. It is deeper than you know. I love them. Why don’t you? Then one day I understood. The discouragement, hostility and rejection were not of them, but the one who seeks to divide and destroy.2
Encouraging one another is the key.
In this current age, pastors, ministers, and church leaders are discouraged.3 Every decision and action is questioned. Dissension reigns. Fear and anger rise. Members choose sides, and they condemn those who do not think and feel as they do.
Want to do away with the hostility and division? Learn to encourage others, then show them how. This is essential to loving others and loving God. Neither can occur when we fail to encourage. Too different for you? Well, we were called to be different.
As for all who are discouraged, hurt, confused, afraid, even angry, remember…This is not about you or them. It is deeper than you know. God loves them. Why don’t you? This war is with the one who prowls like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.4
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa, an international ministry devoted to encouraging others and teaching them how to encourage one another. Also an author and speaker, Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. Learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org.
Footnotes: (1) The ministry of Ciloa is based the command of Hebrews 3:13: But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (2) Read Matthew 10:28. (3) This year we have heard from thousands around the world, seeking prayer as they deal with COVID-19, social injustice, and politics. (4) Read 1 Peter 5:8-11.
Pictures: Banner Shot: FreeImages.com, by Miguel Saavedrá. 1st Photo: SBC Pastors Conference.