It can be comforting to see that the earliest Christian communities struggled with divisions and conflicts. In spite of their experience of God’s grace and strength, and in spite of the spiritual gifts they had received, they fell into competing factions, with groups of people forming around different church leaders. But Paul was not willing to
condone this behavior. He spoke strongly against these divisions and called God’s people to unity and love. He reminded them that God’s love and grace are far stronger and far more important than their petty issues, and he challenged them to place love for one another over any doctrinal or practical disputes they may have had.
Human beings are no different today. We easily find excuses, both within the church and outside of it, to divide ourselves up and fight with one another. It doesn’t matter what “issue” we might choose to divide us, we have no excuse for allowing anything to stop us from loving one another as Christ loved us – no matter how many Bible verses we may quote to support our lovelessness. Rather, we are constantly challenged,as the Corinthian Christians were, to learn to love above all.
Love does not guarantee that we won’t disagree and hurt one another. But it does teach us how to find healing, through the powerful acts of confession and forgiveness. Take time today to reflect on those with whom you have been in conflict and find ways to ask for and offer forgiveness.
As you have forgiven me, Jesus, teach me to forgive those with whom I disagree.