One Who Sows Discord
“These six things the LORD hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.” Proverbs 6:16-19 (Emphasis mine, JRG)
We can be moved to a righteous indignation when we hear about the shedding of innocent blood and we are often repulsed by even the thought of that unnatural act called homosexuality (Romans 1:26, 27), but do we see causing division and strife among brethren as the abomination it is? Do we properly appreciate how often the New Testament exhorts the children of God to be united as brothers? Read carefully the following sampling of God’s plan for His children.
“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1 Corinthians 1:10
“Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3
“Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” Philippians 2:2
How can Christians who otherwise appear so faithful sometimes be so unconcerned about the unity of the brethren? Why are they so willing to create dissension through their murmuring about the way things are done, the decisions the elders make, the way someone leads singing, etc.? There are likely many reasons, but in so many cases the first thing on the list of things hated by God, i.e. the proud look, is inseparably linked to the last thing, i.e. the sowing of discord among brethren.
Consider the Old Testament story of Absalom. This proud young man, the son of David, used his good looks and smooth ways to create division within Israel (2 Samuel 14-19). Absalom’s pride and the ensuing division cost many their lives and led to great sorrow for many, including his own father. Today, while pride and the desire to create a following will rarely cost anyone their physical life, as happened to Absalom and many others, it will bring sorrow to a church and cost people their souls. If we are to avoid a worse punishment than that suffered by Absalom, we must make certain we are not guilty of allowing our pride to lead to the sowing of discord among our brothers and sisters, the children of God Almighty.
Do we appreciate unity as we should? Do we abhor division the way God does? If so, lets…
- Swallow our own personal pride, humble ourselves in God’s sight, and do everything for the glory of God and not self. 1 Peter 5:5, 6; 1 Corinthians 10:31—11:1
- Recommit ourselves to stirring up love and good works. Hebrews 10:24, 25
- Have the spirit of submission to the elders that allows them to watch for our souls with joy. Hebrews 13:17
- Avoid the kind of whispering that separates brethren and friends. Proverbs 16:28
- Refrain from questioning the motives of people or assigning the worst possible motive to every action. 1 Corinthians 13:7
All division is not sin, for our Lord Himself said that He came to bring division with His teachings and demands for commitments to the Father’s will (Matthew 10:34-37), but before we create any friction or faction among God’s people we had better think long and hard about our motives. Love for truth and love for the souls of those deceived by lies may require division from those teaching and practicing things not found in God’s word, but far too often claims of love for the truth are a thin disguise for a pride that seeks a greater sense of importance.
“These…things the LORD hates,
Yes,…are an abomination to Him:
A proud look, …
And one who sows discord among brethren.”
All quotations from the New King James Version, copyright 1994, Thomas Nelson, Inc.