When Christians Attack Christians
By Jack Wellman
I remember as a young boy having “sword” fights with other boys. We were lucky we didn’t put our eyes out. What a swashbuckling young pirate I thought of myself. Defending my treasure against other sea pirates. I was courageous and fearless (at least so I had imagined). But I was always scolded for playing “sword fight” because occasionally someone did get hurt and it was sometimes me.
The armor of God, as described in the Bible in Ephesians 6:10-18 is intended for Christians to defend themselves from the enemy. The enemy who is described as that great lion that roams about seeking whom he might devour. But God has not left us defenseless. He has left us the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of His righteousness, and so on. The sword, which is the Word of God, is the only offensive weapon we have against the enemy, but too often Christians wield the sword against each other.
When the disciples came to Jesus to tell Him that others were preaching in His name. They came in a self-righteous attitude of “how dare they!” What does Jesus do but rebuke them and says, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you” (Luke 9:50; NIV and elsewhere). Church tradition indicates that Peter was crucified upside down, feeling unworthy to die in the way that Christ die. When Jesus told Peter how he would die some day, that is you would be carried where you did not want to go, Peter then looked at John and said, “and what about him (the disciple that Jesus loved, which was John) Jesus basically said, that is none of your business Peter. Jesus said, “What’s that to you, ”If I want him to remain alive until I come. You must follow me” (John 21:22). He told Peter, feed the flock.” It was like Jesus rebuked him about something that was not none of his business and not of importance to the Great Commission and to the church in general. It was something that Peter had no business worrying about.
A house divided can not stand nor is the Body of Christ divided (the church). What body member do you have that has attacked another? Yet, I have seen Christians attack each other, openly, on what are peripheral issues to Jesus Christ. One believes in the Rapture, another doesn’t. Some believe one thing, others believe in another. Like Paul said, some esteem one day over another, some eat meat, and some do not. Paul’s point is we must no offend other Christians, especially newer converts, over things that are not salvation dependent.
Some of the most vicious criticisms that some Christians have ever faced have not been from non-believers, but from other Christians. And some in the denomination I am in. Jesus suffered the worst persecution from the “religious” groups in His day. He was more accepted by those who were not even religious. Aren’t Christians supposed to be united in one purpose and goal, just as we should be in one hope, one faith and one in Christ Jesus?
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