When you read this short book from the New Testament, it doesn’t take long to realize that this letter from John deals with a church fight. But all the biblical letters are a response to church-folk not getting along. At least there are moments in each correspondence that put out the fire between warring factions.
It’s no secret that churches have disagreements, both big and small, that strain our life together and imperil our mission. I’m sure that you can point to a soul-destroying disagreement in your church. Members stop talking to each other. Comments are made about the pastor. Or people leave the church altogether.
The question isn’t, will we have conflict, but what will we do about it?
Conflict, while unpleasant and unplanned, can provide an opportunity for the church to enhance its witness and show others a different way of disagreeing. Christians can demonstrate that people can disagree in love, the way Jesus intends. As John says, “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil but imitate what is good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.”
God who draws people together, when we disagree, let us disagree in love. Amen. — KP