In my days, I’ve seen too many church fights. I’ve even been the cause of two or three.
Most church fights are not about the issue people are fighting about. People feel powerless at home or work so they come to church and have a deep need to be validated. This feeling gets attached to some issue and suddenly there is tremendous emotional energy infused to something that in the great scheme of things, really doesn’t matter.
I’ve heard a lot of sermons, and given more than a few about how churches can avoid fighting. Those sermons are correct when they focus on being united in Jesus.
I’ve heard very few sermons on when a church should fight. There is, however, a great deal of warrior language in scripture. The stories of battles in the Old Testament and the calls to action by Jesus tell us there are fights that need to be fought, because they are God’s fight.
When should God’s church fight?
- When justice is bought and sold.
- When might makes right.
- When the poor are exploited.
- When the hungry are neglected.
- When the enemy is depersonalized (remember “love your enemies?”).
- When the prisoner is mistreated.
- When the sick are abandoned.
- When race is used to categorize and dehumanize.
- When the orphan is cast out.
- When the people are trafficked as commodities.
- When children are enslaved.
- When violence is tolerated as “normal.”
- When those without voice are ignored.
- When a group claims great privilege over another.
- When those who are commissioned to speak truth instead sell their words and pull their punches.
Maybe if we fought the fights that needed to be fought, instead of fighting each other, people would think we take Jesus seriously.