Are you fighting with someone in your church? Maybe you disagree with how they feel about an issue, or you are mad about how they treated you or what they said to you. Sometimes, we don’t even tell the person at church we are angry at them or that they hurt us. But doing nothing doesn’t make it go away.
Christ doesn’t want any division in the church, so you should do what you can to work this situation out. I know it’s not easy, as I have been so hurt by those in church, too. Christ knows how hard this is and he is with you and will help you. The Bible shows you how you can have peace with this person to work out this division in the body of the church.
Why Should We Go to Church According to the Bible?
Church should be a place where you look forward to going. You shouldn’t dread it because you are trying to avoid someone.
The church, meaning “assembly,” is where Jesus meets with us. A place where we gather together for fellowship to be uplifted, a safe place to come as you are and grow to be more like him. We get to worship him together.
God wants to do amazing things through the faithfulness of his people in the church. It’s all about him.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21, ESV)
Jesus will do great things through you as you represent the church well and put your differences aside. You can work out this disagreement in the church.
Division in the Church
Division in the church grieves Jesus’s heart. He wants us to love each other. Even if it’s just two people who can’t get along, Christ doesn’t want any divisions in the church. Each person needs to do their part and not fight; they need to use their gifts.
Gossip can start when two don’t get along, and others get involved too. It can become worse—when conflicts are not resolved and others get involved and sides start forming, larger differences in the church can happen. Or, your heart can become bitter toward the church, causing you to walk away if you just keep bottling it up.
We are called to imitate Christ (Ephesians 5:1) and we need to stand united—to stay strong in faith—to proclaim the gospel. We can’t lose focus by letting the enemy win, as he tries to keep us fighting. Jesus wants his people united.
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14, ESV)
The church is a body; when one body part is not functioning well with the others, then the whole body doesn’t work properly. You and the person you’re fighting with play an important part in the church and have special and unique spiritual gifts the church needs.
Don’t allow this fight to keep you from representing Christ well in that body and walking wholeheartedly in his love. Be like him: forgive, and seek him for help. You are seen by Jesus in your hurt and pain and you can get this argument in the church worked out.
What Causes Division in the Church?
What are some large scale examples of division in the church? There are many reasons major Christian arguments happen. Specifically, Christians fighting Christians can occur over differences in beliefs about what the Bible says, about the leadership, how a situation at the church was handled, or about someone saying something hurtful.
Causes of division in the church can also be related to pastors or other leaders leaving, as this can cause fighting. Politics can do this too. Division can happen also when people simply only think about themselves and not others (Philippians 2:3-4).
Division in the church can be big or small; regardless, Christ doesn’t want any of it. We have to put aside our opinions at times to stay united. Knowing what can cause conflict in the church is important so you can see the signs of division in the church and bring these things to the Lord, seeking to handle them in a way that will not hurt the body.
How to Handle Conflict in the Church Biblically
Jesus wants to help you handle your personal conflict with this person at church. With him, you can get to a place where resolution can happen and you can show each other the love of Christ.
There are no universal steps on how to deal with conflict in the church. Everyone’s situation is different. But there are things that you can do that will help you in this circumstance. I will outline some below, from the book of 1 Corinthians, that Paul shares with the church in Corinth to help them in their arguments over leaders and beyond—as Christians, these can help you too.
Jesus will not fail you; you will get through this time. Church can be a place that you can be happy to go again.
1. Go to Jesus
Have you sought out Christ yet? Jesus is not divided.
“Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:13, ESV)
He wants to help you and is with you. He doesn’t want division in the church. Jesus will lead you and guide you and tell you what to do.
Go to Jesus in prayer. Make time to listen to him. Seek out his Bible for comfort and to find peace in this. Jesus speaks to you through it, too. He will show you what to do in this and help you.
He is your protector, refuge, and everything you need. Ask him and he will help you. You will feel peace in your heart and mind as he shows you what to do and you obey, even if it’s not what you want to do, or it’s hard. Go to him with your church fighting.
2. Seek Out Godly Friends
Sometimes we are fighting in the church and we seek outside help—such as a co-worker or a neighbor—but why not go to a trusted, safe, Christian friend who can pray for you?
“When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?” (1 Corinthians 6:1-2, ESV)
They will uplift you and point you to Christ. They want the church united, the gospel spread, and people to know the real Jesus. This can really help you know what to do as you seek Jesus together. Anger, bitterness, and hurt can get in the way of us sometimes seeing the right thing to do. They can speak truth to you, helping you see the right thing to do. They will pray for you, helping you.
3. Be Humble
Christian fights can continue because, to be honest, you can just think you are right and not even consider that maybe you also did something wrong. You must instead be humble before the Lord.
“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.” (1 Corinthians 3:18, ESV)
Seek him and be humble. He will give you his wisdom as you do this. You sometimes have to take a humble position and back down, being the first person to try to make peace. That might include telling somebody you are hurt by what they did, for the benefit of the church, and honoring God by being like him. Speak with them and listen to their side too. Be calm in the conversation. This in the end will give you peace and stop fighting in the church.
Related Post: Church Hurt and 5 Ways To Heal From It
4. Strive to Have the Same Mind
You should make an effort to get along and resolve this disagreement in the church, even though it is difficult, because Jesus wants you to.
“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians 1:10, ESV)
Maybe your fight is about having a different opinion or belief about the Bible. You both love Jesus, so find a resolution by aiming to have the same mind. The gospel is at stake—this is the bigger picture that could be lost by not being in agreement and representing Jesus well. Talk to each other openly and honestly, sharing your feelings and hearts, and then come to common ground in this. You both love Christ and want to follow his commands and uphold the church well. You both want the gospel spread.
Unfortunately, division in the church happens. We can’t always get along, but we need to make an effort to fix it to obey Christ and let the church be a place that shows Christ’s love. We are called to be like Christ, to be united as a body of Christ, and to stand strong in faith to spread the gospel. It’s all about Christ. He is worthy of it all and we can’t lose the focus of our love and devotion to him. We can’t let the enemy win.
You can resolve this by going to Christ, seeking out Godly friends for help, being humble and striving to have the same mind as the other person. Jesus will help you and sees you. You are not alone. He wants to help you in resolving conflict biblically. He knows the situation you are in personally, and has the best for you both. Jesus will guide and lead you, telling you what to do to resolve this division in the church. What steps will you take today to resolve this conflict?