I get an email every other day from someone who has suffered at the hands of judgmental Christians. From the clothes they wear, to their backgrounds, to the Bible they read, new Christians struggle to find a church they can call home. I have suffered at the hands of judgmental Christians many times. I am not sure why people gather in similar groups and consider everyone else an outsider, but it is very destructive behavior for the Church. I believe it is one reason we have so many denominations. I believe there is enough diversity in the Christian community, so this article is going to be based on “Unity.” The church is a spiritual body, and we tend to dwell on the physical. It doesn’t matter how a person dresses, or what version of the Bible they read. We are to approach our brothers and sisters in Christ in a spiritual manner. Color, race, or sexual preference has nothing to do with one’s desire to worship God. We are all as filthy rags before the eyes of our Creator. Not one of us is any better than the other, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
If we find a brother or sister who is struggling with sin it is our obligation to befriend and counsel him or her in a spirit of meekness, otherwise they may feel discouraged in their faith. We lead them by word and example so they can see Christ in our lives. For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! Galatians 5:13-15 NKJV There may be an older believer who has taken a step in the wrong direction, thus falling back into a sin he or she struggled with in the past. This is not a time to abandon our Christian family member, but to lift him up with encouragement to help them overcome their plight. We are all to work to the goal of like mindedness, but to excommunicate a member is of the order of the Pharisees. Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:1-4 NKJV
The important thing for us to remember is unity is for the glory of God. That is the sole purpose for our church life, to help one another trust and obey the Word of God. Some may say to do this we are letting any kind of person in, and that will bring the church down. We should all remember that God let us in. The scripture says, whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord may enter. We do not do the calling, God does. The church belongs to God, and no matter how much time and money we have invested in it, we are all just visiting. But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 1 Corinthians 12:20-26 NKJV
All believers have the same position in Christ, whether you a pastor of a megachurch, or one who is struggling with life’s distractions. We should recognize the state of being unified as a whole, even though we are comprised of many parts. When one of us suffers all suffer. When one experiences success, we all rejoice together. If we would recognize the unification of the family of God, much of the jealousy and bickering among Christians would stop. Many churches are declining in number, and I believe that partial obedience is one of the causes. It is a sin of many believers, and it robs us of our birthright. We are only partially obedient when we ignore fellow believers who live a different lifestyle our own. We are partially obedient when we distance ourselves from the quiet and meek newcomers. We are partially obedient when one of our brothers or sisters is struggling with some sin, and we judge them for their behavior.
We need to set aside our self interests and remember we are not the only ones called by Christ. I can assure you that God loves diversity. We should get on our knees and confess our failures to others before God. Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24 NKJV Sins of omission rob a Christian of their relationship with God just as much as sins of commission. We need to take our weaker brother and sister into our arms and love them just as Christ loved us. “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” John 13:15-17 NKJV