Wednesday, my family had the opportunity to tour Gettysburg, PA and many of the sites connected to the Civil War battle that happened there almost 150 year ago. If you have never been to Gettysburg, then you should know that there are thousands of monuments scattered around this city. Each monument – set up by various states – commemorates the soldiers that fought during this three day long battle. During those three days – the bloodiest days in U.S. history (?) – 50,000 Americans lost their life, with friends fighting friends, brothers killing brothers.
I grew up in the southern part of the United States – in fact, I have always lived in the South. But, regardless, I recognize that the Southern States (the Confederate States) were wrong in their reaction against the United States government. That said, I also believe the Federal government was wrong in its reaction against the secession of the Confederate States.
Interestingly, there were godly men on both sides of this conflict. Both Southerners and Northerners prayed to God, asking Him to aid them in this dispute. Both groups stated that God was on their side. In reality, I do not think God was on either side. Why? Because I do not think God called brother to kill brother because of political differences.
Not much has changed… especially when it comes to the church. Oh, certainly, we do not fight with rifles, bayonets, and canons. But, how many brothers attack brothers with words? How many sisters destroy sisters through innuendo and gossip? And why? Because we disagree on certain things – not the most important things – not gospel things – but, we definitely disagree about “church” things.
And, because we sing different songs, or meet on different days, or disagree over leadership, or interpret some parts of Scripture differently we kill each other’s reputations – we destroy each other’s witness – we blast each other’s good deeds – we knife each other in the back. Perhaps, it would be better if we would be armed with rifles and bayonets, instead of arming ourselves with sickles as if we can choose who are wheat and who are weeds. Perhaps, it would be better if we would aim canons at one another, instead of aiming words of hate and distrust. At least, if we used rifles or canons, we would be honest about our hate and distrust of one another. At least, then, we would have to admit that we are not united.
I think the American Civil Was was a travesty. I do not think either side was right in going to war against other states. I do not think either side won.
However, the way that Christians attack each other is an even greater travesty and tragedy. The next time you level an attack on another brother or sister in Christ, remember: God is not on your side, regardless of how right you think you are.