Firstly, we need to learn to listen before we speak. James 1:19-20 says:
"Therefore, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God."
Secondly, we need to learn to honor people even if we disagree with them. This means that you need to sometimes just let your zeal and passion for what is "right" be put aside to actually engage in love before you have a dialogue. Romans 12:10 says:
"Be devoted to one another with brotherly love; prefer one another in honor."
Lastly (although this is not an exhaustive list) we must let God be bigger than our churches or organizations. We must put aside the false idea that any single organization or church or group has all the answers. We have to stop fighting among ourselves over petty things and let love and respect for one another rule our thoughts and actions. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthian church strongly opposed any form of sectarianism. First Corinthians 2:10-13 says:
"But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man, except the spirit of man which is in him? Likewise, no one knows the things of God, except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God. These things also we proclaim, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual."
The world is desperately in need of answers and the church has lost its voice in the dialogue because we have taken up the sword instead of laying down our lives. Perhaps it's time we began to look to our own houses, make the necessary changes within ourselves and begin to ask the Lord to help us regain the love that we so desperately need to display if we are to reach a world that is currently in great pain.
Ben Woodward, pastor of Bridgeport Community Church, is a speaker, author and songwriter from Australia. As you will find out by reading his book You Shall Know the Truth, he is passionate about helping people discover Jesus through worship and prayer. He lives in Kansas City with his wife, Kathryn, and three children, Eliana, Cohen and Paisley.
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