Who’s right?

Chapter 15 of Acts documents a meeting between some of the early apostles of Christ. They were faced with an issue debating the differences between the Jewish and the Gentile believers and their opposing life practices.  For example; Jewish law was such that young men were to be circumscribed on the 8th day after birth, and the Gentiles did not adhere to this practice.  This particular difference was a stumbling block for many Jews to be able to accept their brothers in Christ that were Gentile and likewise it was a serious issue for the Gentiles as well. There were several other things about the Gentile way of life that upset the Jewish believers  ; eating food that was considered unclean,  and many practices and actions that were to be followed in day to day life that were not part of the Gentile culture.  In a nutshell, the  Jews felt that they had followed the law for their whole life and now others were getting the same benefits without ever having to follow the same rules. They thought it was unfair and that in order for the Gentiles to be included in the same ‘believership’ they should follow all the same laws and be essentially converted to Judaism.  


The early apostles had the first church fight in Antioch.  I can picture the scene.  Church fights can be brutal, and I imagine this one was a doosey.   Each side wanting their voices heard. Each side wanting the other to acquiesce  and fall in line with a new way of thinking. Each side feeling righteous and everyone standing on personal superiority of opinions. I can envision  the leaders of this meeting trying desperately to keep order and peace in the midst of shouting and fists pounding punctuation to wordy speeches .  

The  participants at this  meeting reached an agreement that was beneficial to everyone. I don’t think this was an easy task. There were some serious conflicts but the common goal brought them together.  They didn’t draw the other side into their camp. They didn’t convert one culture into another. They didn’t change the law. They didn’t lessen the importance of the other’s views.  They learned. They changed their point of view. They understood each other. They agreed to love  and support each other . They reached a unity , a togetherness that bound them on a communal path.: To share the good news of Jesus Christ and to expose the world to His love and grace. 


This same scenario is played out all the time. In churches, schools, offices, street corners, family diners,  _________________(fill in the blank).  We are all guilty of thinking that we are completely right and our counterpart is completely wrong.  You’ve been there. I know I have. 


WHo wins?

When push comes to shove in your personal agendas do you give in or hold out to be ‘right’ ?  Do you stand firm or compromise?  Do you chose to love or hate?  Do you dig in and speak louder to prove your point even though you may realize you are wrong? 

Here  I stand. Guilty as charged. I admit that I am not the first to give in nor the first to admit I am wrong. That is a trait I am struggling to be rid of.  There is a time to stand your ground. There is a time to hold strong to a principal  that is powerful and justified. But there is also a time to give in and reach a common goal that is greater than yourself.  When that goal is  the love and grace of Jesus everyone wins because God meant for that power to be available to everyone. NO exclusions. NO exceptions. No limitations. 

Are there laws and rules to life that are necessary.? Of course there are. Are there  policies and cultural traditions that are important? Of course there are.  But of all the rules and laws , traditions and policies that we live under, the most important one is to love God and to love each other.  Jesus made it simple. He was sent to earth to teach us this one great commandment and then he took our sins upon Himself and died so that we can be made whole. 

Note to self:  You don’t have to be right to win the fight.  The battle has already been fought and Jesus let you win. 

2 thoughts on “Church Fight

  1. Deborah Joyce Shaleen says:

    I love this, Shelly! We, the Church, need this right now today! We need unity during this difficult time in our Nation. We need to be the Church that God has called us to be and needs us to be. We need to love God with our whole hearts and we need to truly love one another so that when others look at us they will know that we are Christians by that love. Instead, they look at us now and all they see is division and strife. I am praying that God will help His children to come together and truly love one another and that many will be drawn to Him and into His Kingdom through that love. Thank you so much, Shelly, for sharing this. Keep going, Sister!

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