Francis Chan: Church Unity Is Not Optional

The Bible says in James 4:5, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us.” Do you believe that you have a heavenly Father who “yearns jealously” for you? He created Adam and Eve to walk with Him in the garden, and He created us to not only walk with Him but in Him. He yearns jealously for this.

Parents might get a small taste of God’s emotions with their own children. You produce a life, knowing that the baby will one day have the freedom to ignore you and live independently if he or she chooses. Everything in you hopes this child will want to stay connected. Part of you wants to demand it because you want it so badly, but you know that isn’t love. The heartbreak parents feel when their child wants to live independent of them is a fraction of what the Creator feels.

Imagine how He feels knowing that some of His children wish He didn’t exist. They’re busy and tired of trying to squeeze in a token visit as their duty. Their desire to ignore Him is so strong that they convince themselves He’s not real. Romans 1 explains that though they know He exists, they suppress the truth. That’s how badly they want freedom from Him.

We worship a God who desires unity with His children and between His children. He sent His Son to bring His children together under His care. No good father wants to see separation between his children. As a father of seven, it would crush me to see any of my children rejected and separated from the others. It would anger me to see any of my children being divisive. In God’s list of things He hates (Prov 6:16–19), He places greatest emphasis on “one who sows discord among brothers.”

He calls it an “abomination”! That should stop you dead in your tracks. You should be examining your own life right now to see if you are guilty of something that Almighty God hates so much. If you can casually read on to the next paragraph, you have a serious problem.

I am guilty of having sowed discord. Even now, as I study all these passages about division, I am embarrassed by my lack of remorse. Only a redemptive God with grace beyond comprehension could be this patient with me and still use me to teach about unity. I have spent most of my Christian life wishing that certain pockets of Christians did not exist. I even had the audacity to pray for the deaths of certain people because I thought their removal would benefit His Kingdom on earth. I was not just a run-of-the-mill arrogant person. That’s next-level stuff! Think about the pride it requires to come before an omniscient God to share that kind of idea.

I was too quick to label people as false teachers, warning believers to keep their distance from them. While there is a time to warn others about false teachers, there is also a time to do your homework. By being too quick to judge, I have made costly mistakes. I jumped on bandwagons that were popular in my theological circle, attacking men and women whom I now know to be God’s beloved children.

Proverbs paints this as more than a “mistake.” All of that was an “abomination” to Him.

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Maybe I was cunning enough to refrain from openly slandering them in public, but I’m sure my heart attitude spilled out of my mouth. None of us are as good at faking love as we think. Besides, just because my statements weren’t made in public doesn’t mean God hated it less. Every unkind word spoken in private about one of His children was heard by Him.

It really wasn’t private, and I doubt I would have said those things if I had been aware of their Dad’s presence in the room. Sometimes the secret conversations are the most dangerous. They seed deeper-rooted division in a person, who then passes on the slander. That’s unholy discipleship. God hates it.

Praise God for the cross! Now would be a fitting time to worship Him for His mercy. All of my abominable acts were placed on Jesus at the cross. Jesus died to pay for our divisiveness and to lead us toward unity.


Excerpted from Until Unity, © 2021 Francis Chan, published by David C Cook, all rights reserved, www.UntilUnityBook.com

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