Day10

Avoiding Division

from the One Another reading plan


James 4:1-12, James 5:7-11, Galatians 5:13-15, Mark 9:42-50, Zechariah 7:9-10

BY Jennifer Redmond

“I guess what I’m saying is that, while I see your points, I respectfully disagree. And that’s ok. [wink face].”

Would you believe me if I said that was a text message I received from a fellow believer on October 30, 2020? 

On this particular Friday, my dear friend had asked me to suss out my thoughts on some political hot topics. To say I felt apprehensive as questions flew and the telltale ellipses bobbed on my screen is an understatement.

Genuine discussion is rare in our culture, even, or sometimes especially so, in Christian community. So I was nervous to risk a friendship. It often seems that animosity rules the day more than brotherly affection, and social media comments reveal more “bit[ing] and devour[ing]” (Galatians 5:15) than “faithful love and compassion” (Zechariah 7:9).

At the end of the day, we did not agree with each other’s conclusions. Yet, we both agreed that we respected each other’s heart and love for Jesus as displayed through our lives and not our votes. The following week we made plans to go out for dinner; our friendship had survived, and though disagreement existed, division did not rule the day. 

James 4 shows us how this seeming contradiction is possible: the majority of the chapter is spent on orienting ourselves in a posture of humility, not towards others, but towards God! See, if we hold a correct view of our individual relationship to God, it will change how we interact with one another. 

“Submit to God,” James tells us in verse 7; “draw near to God” (James 4:8); “humble yourselves before the Lord” (v.10)—all of these actions lay the foundation for this culminating, simple instruction shared in verse 11: “Don’t criticize one another, brothers and sisters.” We cannot be successful in this pursuit apart from submission to God. James goes on in chapter 5 to remind us that if our focus is where it should be, it becomes much more difficult to complain about others.

If we live in submission to the Spirit with a genuine awareness of His presence, we will not  be prone to complain about one another. Our hearts will be changed. 

James closes chapter 4 with a searing inquiry: “Who are you to judge your neighbor?” (v.12). To judge or criticize another, we must assume an awful lot about our own knowledge; but, remember, it is God alone who can “save” and “destroy” (v.12). 

Be encouraged—God “gives grace to the humble” (v.6). Grace to uplift and not to criticize; in doing so, we show the world a better way, one of “faithful love and compassion” (Zechariah 7:9).

Spend 2022 in God's Word
Post Comments (56)

56 thoughts on "Avoiding Division"

  1. Shaena Elizabeth says:

    Beautiful, thank you for sharing. I just might need to find a stone to keep with me as a reminder ❤️

  2. Leslie Warnick says:

    Wow. Thank you CHURCHMOUSE

  3. Marla SneedGibson says:

    Church Mouse welcome back! I am behind on my devotional so I just read your post. I needed this today. Thank you. Your words always resonate with me in such a profound way. Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Victoria E says:

    Thank you for praying for me Mari V. It really made my day to know that you are. I struggled today with this decision, with not being able (or willing to take the risk ) to fly to see my mom and dad for the holidays, with a lot today. Knowing that you prayed for me actually made me tear up a little. Thank you and bless you

  5. Victoria E says:

    Not sure if anyone will see this post it’s so late here on the west coast! Came back to look at the comments again and I’m so glad I did. Churchmouse that story is powerful!!!! Thank you for sharing. Mari V I have prayed about my decision all day I have come to the conclusion that I need to wait on this opportunity. I pray I will have it again/ later, it’s something I’ve been trying to do for some time without any luck, but I know God can open doors when it is the right time. I was just shocked to get a “yes”, in my very specialized field people usually want someone who can be full-time. I will be speaking with the clinic director again next week to talk logistics, hopefully I will be able to volunteer early next year after the baby is born, God willing.

  6. Widgeon says:

    Church Mouse, you have been so dearly missed. Your insightful comments help us all to see things in a sweet sweet light. I appreciate you in many ways. God has blessed you with wisdom compassion and grace. We all benefit from your posts. Keep them coming, girl! I pray you all have a happy, safe, and healthy Thanksgiving.

  7. Sandy Phillips says:

    Thank you, Church Mouse. So much truth in every word of this. Let’s all just love LIKE Jesus!!

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