How Divisions Start
"For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith." Romans 12:3 This is where many of us get into trouble. It can be a tough one, one that causes division and separation in the Body of Christ. The passage goes on to say: vs: 4-6 "For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts DIFFERING according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them…" The point is that God equips each one with all that goes along with the person's gifting and calling. The believer's very personality will have been crafted to support his calling in the Body of Christ, and that will make us all different. For example, it speaks of one "who shows mercy" as a specific calling. That person will generally be soft-spoken, kind, and gentle. We all know people like that. A teacher, on the other hand, is usually going to be of the serious sort, focused on doctrines, and associating with people of like mind. These two may have little in common. Then the passage cites "ministry" as one of the callings. Someone who whose gift is in this area is going to be interested in all that makes up the ministry. Imagine administrators, coordinators, overseers, elders, and the like. Now ...can we see how these differences can cause division? One who has mercy as his calling might chafe, for example, at decisions made by administrators, especially if there seems to be anyone whose feelings get hurt in the process of administration. Resentments build, the mercy-giver starts thinking (and, God forbid, speaking) ill against the administrator, and lo and behold we have a problem. This is how divisions can be launched in the Body of Christ. We all want to be with like-minded people and that's perfectly ok, even necessary, because we support each other when we understand each other; furthermore, sharing perspectives, sharing cares, praying for each other, it all comes more naturally when we're doing so with people of like character and callings, with whom we share interests, viewpoints, and ...life.. But getting back to the opening verse, we are counselled by the Lord: "...not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith." In other words, before we write off a brother or sister with whom we disagree or whom we chafe at, it's important first to take into consideration that person's calling and see if our disagreement is not really a disagreement over truth or principle but rather over each one's natural approach to things, which may be different from ours by very nature. This is where God calls us to patience and forbearance, and to soberly consider that that person is following his own call, and never to think that that person is inferior because he/she sees things in a totally different light than we do. Brothers and sisters, we need to give great respect to the various gifts and callings and ministries and functions that God has sovereignly placed within the Body of Christ, especially when they ARE so very different from ours, and restrain the tendency to let it become an issue between us. Anything less is showing a great disrespect for the gifts and callings that GOD HIMSELF has provided and placed among us, which must be lived out each according to its own character. The bottom line is that we must love one another and hold in the highest respect each one's place in the Body of Christ.