Vol.XIII No.III Pg.3
May 1976

Peace Is Possible!

Dan S. Shipley

Few things hinder the progress of local churches more than internal strife — and seemingly few have been spared the taste of its bitter fruits. Somewhere, even now, dissension grows and division threatens where unity and peace once prevailed. Likely, the very existence of some small and struggling group is being jeopardized by some internal and non-doctrinal conflict. Chances are that both sides believe themselves to be right and feel they have been mistreated by some on the other side. Harsh and hurtful words have probably been spoken by several. Resentment and bitterness are worsened with encouragement from prejudiced allies backing both sides. Longsuffering and love are only thought of as deficiencies in others. Some may even attribute their heathen-like conduct to expressions of convictions or love. Most doubt that reconciliation is possible; others may not even want it — at least, not without a little groveling and log-licking by the other side. About the only thing they hold in agreement is the revealing and incriminating statement often heard: THEYLL answer for it in judgment!

Meanwhile, worship is difficult. Most energies are being expended on biting and devouring. Satan smiles. His prospects for reclaiming servants is good. The discouraged quitter will be his. The unforgiving and impenitent are in his camp. Such chaos precludes effective work. The fields white unto harvest must wait — while laborers fight among themselves. Many wonder: Is there no solution? — Is it possible to have the kind of unity Christ prayed for in Jn. 17:21?

Certainly peace is possible! What Christ prayed for is attainable by his followers, IF EARNESTLY DESIRED AND HUMBLY SOUGHT. Only the desire and humility must be contemplated and sought in the most personal terms. Do I really want this discord ended to Gods satisfaction? Could I possibly be wrong? Could I have said or done some wrong or left the wrong impression? (They are not the only ones who will be judged!)

Peace will be possible when I am humble enough to count others better than myself (Phil. 2:3). Equality and oneness in Christ involves a relationship in which all are looked up to and no one is looked down upon. Yea, all of you gird yourselves with humility, to serve one another... (1 Pet. 5:5). Surely those who can love enemies can esteem brethren — and when we do itll be hard to fuss. Such humility also involves not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you to the things of others (Phil. 3:4). Most strife is either motivated or perpetuated by selfishness and pride (contrary to Pauls admonition, doing nothing through faction or through vain glory). When my concern can be turned to the things of others (their interests, needs, feelings and problems) — even when I believe them to be wrong — then I am more likely to help than hinder, both them and me.

Essentially, this is Christ-mindedness. Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.. . (Phil. 2:5). When we want what He wants and when we seek it with His humility, then we can have the unity he prayed for. Believe it!