Jesus pleaded for unity in the church in His high priestly prayer to the Father (John 17:21-23). If you’ve studied church history or revivals, there’s a pattern that whenever a great move of God came to a region and people were being healed and saved and radically delivered of things, when it “fizzled out” the reasons could almost always be traced back to disagreement within the church.
Unity, whether in our natural or spiritual family, is essential to its functionality. Secular groups that oppose the kingdom of God often look much more unified than the Body of Christ, and it is the chief reason they move ahead with their agenda. Strength lies in oneness, while division cripples.
Hurts, slights, and insults happen in the church. But God is calling us to a different standard of living than those in the world. So much of what we as human beings take offense at has more to do with our pride than it does righteous anger. And be sure it is the fervent wish of our enemy that he destroys relationships and trust within the church.
While I was running one day, ruminating on some injustice that had been done to me and how I thought I might respond, I heard the Lord say to me quietly, “Do you want to be right? Or do you want to be righteous?”
For His sake, and for that of the church, but also for my own, righteousness must be the standard over being “right.” Many times we are justified in being angry. How we respond and what we realize we need to let go of require humility. Pride must be recognized for what it is.
“This you know, my beloved brethren. Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).
There is a reward for choosing righteousness, even though it means our “rights” take a backseat. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Peter 5:6). Sometimes we do need to address problems with brothers and sisters. Many times though, after prayer and reflection, we’ll see that what we really need to do is just give grace. But humbling ourselves and choosing not to get angry, Peter assures us, means promotion in God’s kingdom and in God’s timing!