Unity of the Brothers

Most of the frustration of being a mom is children fighting.
How do you create an atmosphere where fighting doesn’t happen?
Well, God created that perfect world.
And man still fought.
Man is given a choice.
And now on top of that man is fallen, with a sinful nature, bent on doing wrong always.

But as a mom, I want my children to get along.
What did I do?
When they fought over a toy, I took it. (Sometimes I warned them, sometimes I didn’t.)
Or I set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes, then they’d switch. 
(They’d soon grow tired of this—no one else wants it? Why play with it?)
Legos and other choking or special toys could be played on the table only, where baby couldn’t bother them.

I think, because I had boys, they didn’t get into verbal battles (that’s more a girl thing??)
But physical? That’s boys. See Why Men Fight?
Joey made sure he wrestled with them A LOT.
By giving them avenues where they could be aggressive, in a good way, they didn’t need to show dominance in a bad way.
Distraction works sometimes.

We also spent a lot of time OUTSIDE.
When the witching hour came, (EVERY DAY AN HOUR OR SO BEFORE JOEY CAME HOME), I’d have dinner ready and we’d go outside, where they could jump, run, and use their energy constructively, rather than be confined inside asking for trouble.

When they got older, and too old to spank, Joey would have them sit on the coach and hold hands. When they’d punch or pinch each other with the other hand, he made them hold both…of course they could kick each other…But by then, they’d cooled down and could go about their separate ways.

But that doesn’t eliminate the sin nature. 

Joey and I consistently prayed that our boys would be friends, then and now.
We've seen their care for each other today as answers to our prayers.
You see, we could only instruct and encourage them to try harder to control their wants.
But God must help to make them want to do good. 
It's a heart issue.

Peace only comes when the heart is changed.
Foundations must be the same.
And God is present.

If I tried to “make unity”, even when my son, say lied to me, it would not be unity.
It would be a truce—a time bomb waiting for an explosion.
He doesn't want to change.
If I don't address the heart issue, it is only a matter of time before another episode happens.
Because my son did not repent and make restitution.

Without repentance, restitution is not possible.
I can forgive him, but he won't be restored to the same level of trust as before. 
Without confession, sin stands between us.
And the next time, because there will be a next time, he will be harder to reach.

And unity is not possible.

Same with God and us.
We cannot have God’s peace, without repentance. 
God provided our peace—through His Son. 
Without accepting God’s terms, we have no peace.

Unity demands recognizing the same foundation.
And making peace on God’s terms.
And accepting His standard—the Bible.

What a Muslim defines as peace is total annihilation of anyone not Muslim.
World peace cannot happen, according to a Muslim, until I am dead and everyone else that doesn't believe as they do.
That’s not God’s peace.
We don’t have the same foundation.
It doesn’t matter what we say or do, we will never have peace with a Muslim.

When churches unite with other churches of like faith, we can have peace.
The key is “like faith.”
Because our foundations are the same, peace is possible.

What about within the same church? Shouldn’t we be unified?
Romans 12:18 commands us, if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
It takes two people in agreement to have peace between them.
Churches have a doctrine for a reason.
It states what we hold as true and right and what we are to live by.
By having the Bible as our rulebook, not our book of suggestions, we operate with a standard.
If some member doesn't believe the Bible is their rulebook, then there cannot be peace and unity.
The foundation is not the same.
We don't operate by the same rules.
Nor can we extend peace. 
In fact, that person will create disunity by their actions. 
They don't live as if they're accountable to the Bible.

Is “peace at all cost” what God wants in His church?
Often it is easier to cater to that individual, after all, who wants to confront?
By catering to their disobedience, we do not get peace.
We may not be visually "fighting" but there better be a battle inside of you!
And that time bomb is waiting to explode—if he disobeyed the first time without repentance, what's to keep him from doing it again—especially since he doesn't operate by the Word?

God did not spare any cost to give us peace—He sacrificed His only Son.
But that doesn't mean peace is easy for us either.

As a mother, I am not loving my son if I look the other way when he does wrong.
I am to confront, correct, rebuke and encourage him.
(That's also what the Bible does. See 2 Timothy 3:16.)
To do what?
Confess his sins and repent. Change his behavior.
That's not encouraging! But IT IS.
In fact Proverbs 13:24 says whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.
When I correct my son, it shows I love him enough to want him to live like Jesus.  

Should the church of God do anything less for those we love?
By confronting another believer who has sinned, we cause conflict. 
But that is our responsibility.
James 5:19-20 says, If someone among you wanders away from the truth and is bought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from the wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.

Ezekiel warned that if he saw his brother in danger and failed to warn him, he would suffer the same danger that would fall on his brother.

I didn’t correct every little thing my sons did wrong. 
That’s where I Peter 4:8 is helpful. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
To cover sin is to forgive it. 
We don’t nit-pick our brothers. We don’t correct every little thing they do wrong.

So how do we know what we are to correct? 
That's where prayer comes in.
As we pray, God leads us either to confront our brother or continue to pray for our brother.
Prayer deepens our relationship with our brother.
It also helps us to evaluate our own motive, so we aren't like the Pharisee with the blank in our eye telling of the splinter in another's, though we are all sinners needing to be changed.

We are to spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24.

Without this confrontation and accountability, church becomes just another club where all go, have a nice time, but go home unchanged.
Church is the body of Christ—we all must work together.
But to do that, we must be able to correct, admonish, and spur one another to good deeds.

We do not change without problems.

Proverbs 27:17 says, Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Sparks fly. Metal pieces are chipped away. But the blade becomes sharper. 
Useful for the Master.
Church should help us be more like Jesus.
If Christians aren't changing—becoming more like Christ, the church isn't doing its job.
Do we like being corrected?
Of course not.
But it is necessary for change.
Not change for it's own sake, but change to be more like Christ.

How do we keep our doctrine untainted and pure when wolves come to destroy it?
This is when unity is challenged. Shouldn’t we just get along?
This is when we hear “love one another.”

John MacArthur said, “False doctrine cries the loudest about unity.
Listen carefully when you hear the cry for unity because it may be the cover of false doctrine encroaching.”

Truth cannot unite with falsehood. It all becomes false.
That's why we must stand on the Word of God.
If members or even elders don't follow what's clearly in the Word of God, do they even believe it?

Ezekiel was a watchman for the Israelites. (Ezekiel 33:1-12, See Are You a Watchman?)
He proclaimed dangers that would weaken their walls, hinder their growth, destroy their ministry. 
How did the people respond to Ezekiel’s message?
They rejected his message. They persecuted him.
He was just the messenger!
He stood for truth.
He loved his people—they didn’t want to be corrected. They wanted to do their own thing.

We need to be people who are willing to confront in love for the sake of truth regardless of what others, even leaders, say.
Unity of brothers?
Not when you compromise truth.
Only when you use God's Word as a standard— not only in Word but in deed.
Then and only then will churches reflect what the Psalmist said. 
How blessed that brothers dwell together in unity. Psalm 133:1.

Displaying 1 comment

Great article, Sonya. Lots to think about and apply. It's so true that REAL love is willing to confront the wrong, not just say we aren't suppose to judge. (Which is NOT what the Bible says, despite what one hears some say.) Thanks for your thoughts, they are always so helpful.

I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

Receive weekly articles by giving your email address below:

Find more articles about faith here:
How Miserable Are You? Are You Happy?
The Need for Meaning Even in Pain
Reminders of What's Important
God's Unmeasurable Love
A Quarter of a Century Spent for Our Country
What Were You Thinking?
Who Are You Watching?
Boundaries for a Better Life
God's Boundaries
Memories of a Hero Mom
The Ripple Effect
How Do We Think Like Jesus
Litany of a Waiting Woman
Ever Cook a Frog?
New Year's Reminders
They Galled Her Gammy
When God Speaks
A Russian Christmas Story
Be Thankful
Be Grateful
Are You Tired of the Same, Old Thing?
Laughter—Why Laugh?
Are You Disturbed?
Unity of the Brothers
Encouragements To Declutter
Do You Have Too Much Stuff?
Too Much Stress
Getting Past the Noise—The Value of Silence
Are You Scatterbrained?
How Good Are You?
Looking for Something Good To Read?
A Cup of Cold Water
I Will Trust When I Cannot See
Encouragement—What Is It?
Being in God's Presence
"Einstein and the Professor"
When God Is Silent
Do You Crave Beauty?
Using Stories to Discipline
The Danger of the Wrong Story
Using Stories to Teach Lessons
God is in charge of the future
November Dare Joy Challenge
Developing an Attitude of Gratitude
Looking for Jesus
What Do Your Prayers Reflect?
Life's Little Pleasures
Daniel—Greatly Loved by God
Take Every Thought
Jars of Clay
What Do Your Words Reveal about Your Heart?
How Do You Get Strong Faith?
Too Busy for God's Word?
How Do You Think Like Jesus?
Reflections from a Mom
Pain—What's It Good For?
Why Marry?
Consider the Robin
One Life Who Made a Difference
What Day Are You Living In?
Interrupted by God
Is Jesus Really the Answer to Everything?
Are You Beat Up?
What's Your Hurry?
Are You a Manipulator?
Are You Salty?
Are You Condemned?
Trying to Understand?
Do You Expect Answers to Your Prayers?
Do You Eat Your Stress?
Need Focus?
Going through Trouble?
Immanuel—God with Us
Looking for a Relationship?
When God Says, "No!"
What Do You Do with Left-Overs?
How Great Is Your God?
Are You Needy?
How Do You See Sin?
What Do Your Words Mean?
Is Evil Overwhelming You?
Those Aha Moments
Is Your Soul Happy?
Are You Ignored?
Looking for the God Moment
Do You Know Truth from Almost Truth?
I Believe in Jesus—What Now?
Do You Have Your "Son"-Glasses On?
Less Is More
Singing His Praise
Are You Trying To Do It All?
What Do You Do with All These Prayer Requests?
Have a Problem?
Do You Know How to Pray?
Looking for God in Every Moment
Are You Receptive to God's Blessings?
Tell the Senate: Mothers Aren't Birthing People
Is Your Life Complicated?
How Do We Fight Evil?
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
Giving Up or Taking Away
the Bible is simple
Are You a Dripping Faucet?
What's Your Testimony?
The Final Move
Be Careful What You Wish For!
Are Your Prayers Answered?
I Choose Joy
What Have You Learned from Your Hardship?
Who Are You Trying to Change?
What's Your Five-Year Plan?
The Danger of "Aloneness"
My Colors
Are You a Whiner?
Are Your Works Approved?
Do You Think You're Stressed?
Is Your Soul Feeling Ragged?
God Speaks to the Heart of the King
What about the Details?
Have You Felt the Long-Suffering of God?
How Does God Lead You?
Do You Have Enough?
Don't Carry More than You Need
Cast the Seed
God Is Faithful
Are You Deceived?
Are You Essential?
Are You Safe?
Are You Tired of the Same Old Thing?
Does the World Make Sense?
Have You Seen God's Majesty?
Do You Feel Judged?
If You Only Had One More Day To Live
Are You Understood?
Do You Long for the Word of God?
Slow Down and Smell the Dead Leaves
Are You Hospitable?
Our Heritage Is Bought by Blood
Are You Disturbed?
Are You Depressed?
I Did It My Way
Finding the Simple Life with Meaning
The Simple Life
Do You Have the Right Words?
Did Your Dream Die?
On the Other Side of the Fence
Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence
Confessions of a Desperate Mom
Saving for Tomorrow
A Wedding Remembered
Who Will Stand in the Gap?
Are You a Protector or a Ruler?
Who Are You?
Are You an Image Bearer or a Wad of Cells?
Are You a Watchman?
Where Do You Find Meaning?
The Lamb of God as Told by a Scribe
What Love Is This?
Remember: The Symbols of Passover Explained
Tea and Rest
Do You Have Peace?
What Makes a Marriage Work?
When Life Is Awful
Are You Strong Enough?
Be Faithful through Suffering
Do You Know the Word?
Wake Up! Strengthen What Remains
Are You Spit in God's Mouth?
Is Jezebel in Your Midst?
Do You Stand Against Satan Himself?
Are You Tired of Being a Mom?
What in the World Is Happening?
It's Not My Story
How Would Your Faith Compare?
Are You Sinking?
Are You a Rule Follower?
Useful for Him
An Intimate Moment with Mary
The Worldview that Makes the

Thoughts to Ponder
What Does It Take To Know the
    Heart of God?

See the Story in the Stars
Do the Scriptures Burn You?
Being in His Presence
Contentment: It's Not for the Timid
How Secure Are You?
How Do You Respond To Stupid People?
The Earthworm Is My Hero
Heart Issues or Issues of the Heart
Things Aren't Always What They Seem
More faith articles are found here:
under the Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Or here:
under the Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Articles on Suffering can be found  here, 
under Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Special Days
Remember: The Symbols of 
   Passover Explained

Aug 12, 2017 The Heavens Declare the Glory of God
July 4th, Freedom
What Is an American Soldier?
Valentine's Day: A Day of Love?
Memorial Day-A Day To Remember
Veterans' Day-To Honor Our Men
Fall Colors
First Thanksgiving Day

Christmas: Stories behind the Songs
Christmas: Stories behind the Songs, part 2