In our reading through the New Testament, today’s reading is Mark chapter 9. The chapter ends with Jesus telling the disciples to have peace with one another. Some people take a verse like that and run with it believing Jesus’ followers and the church should just all get along no matter what. Let’s not judge each other, let’s not argue over sin, let’s just love each other and accept each other. As one who is skeptical of that attitude, the question I must ask is, “Did Jesus mean peace at any price?”
Acts 16:36-41 tells us that Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement and parted ways because of it. “Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another.” Barnabas and his group went to Cyprus and Paul and his group went to Syria. The argument could be made that their split was selfish and was not what Jesus would have wanted. That may be so. But did God use it to spread the Gospel? He did. And He used the division to bring Timothy under Paul’s tutelage. Would the Gospel have been hurt if they stayed together? I think that argument could be made.
I don’t believe in peace at any price. I believe there must be a balance between love and correction. As I understand it, a gospel that is all love with no call to repentance is not The Gospel of Jesus. And a gospel that is all correction and calling for repentance without love is also not The Gospel. Sometimes we must love people enough to tell them that, even if it causes discord. And if we part ways with other believers, we should wish them well and know that God can even use a separation to further the Gospel.
PS – This blog came about today solely due to the Bible reading today. As far as I know, we are not having trouble in our church!