the weblog of Alan Knox

Brother killing brother…

Posted by on Jun 16, 2007 in discipleship, fellowship | 8 comments

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.


8 Comments

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  1. 6-16-2007

    Excellent post, Alan. I’ve heard it said before that the Christian army is the only one that shoots its own wounded. You’ve described that pretty well in your post.

    Also–on the historical side of things–if you haven’t read “The Killer Angels” I would recommend it for your summer reading list :)

  2. 6-16-2007

    Wow…Ouch…True!
    Thanks Alan.

  3. 6-17-2007

    If you must win by hate, it isn’t God working through you.

    Yes, I think if people spent more time picturing their words as though they were using physical weapons it would simply horrify them. Who knows what power we give the spiritual forces with our unleashed tongues.

    “Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and establishes a town by crime! Has not the LORD Almighty determined that the people’s labor is only fuel for the fire, that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing? For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

    Habakkuk 2:12-14

  4. 6-17-2007

    Alan,

    It’s interesting and sad that even while the battle at Gettysburg was happening, men on both sides were regretting it.

    However, in the church when we are battling and splitting, there seems to be little regret until after the fact. Even then, the regret seems to stem more from the loss of fellowship than it does from the sin we have committed against God.

    As the church, we should know better.

  5. 6-17-2007

    For this reason, servant leadership is effective. Leading with love it seems to me will acomplish more than leading by winning an argument.

    But what do you do about someone that is way off base, and ignores the basic teachings of the Bible?

    We don’t overcome evil with evil but overcome evil with good. But how? I would like to read some examples.

    Scott McCrae (signed on as scott m before)

  6. 6-17-2007

    Alan,

    Very perceptive post! Thank you!

    I have noticed that churches which have an authoritarian leadership seem to engender an attitude of “if you don’t agree with me, and those who do agree with me, you are our enemy, therefore dangerous”.

    This thinking relegates the common inheritance, which all genuine Christians have in Christ,to the irrelevant basket.

    A church with which I am familiar was told by their pastor that not having official signed-up membership, and not attending every meeting, was a sign of ones unsaved status. Because a dear brother objects to this teaching and won’t become a member he is shunned.

    A lost world looks on and says, “And they say they have something we do not?”

  7. 6-17-2007

    What a post! I have started using your posts at work to get people about God. There are different beliefs there but your posts will make all of us think outside the box and I know this one will surely get us talking about what we are doing as Christians.

    Thanks
    Juan

  8. 6-17-2007

    Alice,

    Don’t you think it should be just the opposite? Should Christians care for and love more brothers and sisters who “oppose” us? Why do you think we attack instead?

    Raborn,

    Thanks for the encouragement. I was also convicted when I was looking at the different monuments and realized that we (the church) are worse at times.

    Bryan,

    You said: “If you must win by hate, it isn’t God working through you.” I’m going to keep that in mind. That is a good check for my thoughts and attitudes. Thank you!

    Eric,

    I think the same is true of believers. We often regret our words even when we are attacking brothers and sisters. But, like the soldiers on the battlefield, we contiue to pull the trigger. Why?

    Scott,

    I would also like to read some examples. If you come across some, let us know. Of course, we know how Jesus responded to those who were his true enemies. Perhaps we could learn something from his example.

    Aussie John,

    I’ve been in situations where it seemed what was taught was “if you’re not with me, then you’re against Jesus”. I don’t think this is what Jesus said. But, as long as men try to usurp Jesus’ authority, I think this is the kind of teaching you will get.

    Juan,

    I’m honored and humbled, brother. Thank you. I hope you will share some the further discussions that you have.

    -Alan

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