It would be ridiculous for me to state that Satan is not the cause of much disunity in the church. So, that’s why I did not say that. However, let’s stop giving him credit for some of the things that are happening in your church.
I write the following allegory with a gentle attitude, but also with great concern and motive:
Imagine if the ACME Sign Company had signed a contract with the state government to produce stop signs. This contract had been going on for 30 years. Interestingly enough, the stop signs this company has been producing are not red as you would expect. They are still octagonal, and still are placed at intersections, and still say “STOP” as normal — but they are blue.
The company continued making blue stop signs, and to be honest the workers as well as the community became accustomed to the fact that stop signs were blue, at least in this local area. All seemed well, and all was normal. In fact, the leaders of the company often held press conferences and sent out memos documenting the value of having stop signs.
As years went by, some of the workers began to notice the problem. They began asking themselves, “Why are we producing blue stop signs? According to the interpretation of the state transportation regulations, these signs should be red.” Many of the workers talked among themselves over the years, but nothing really was done. It seemed they just accepted that this is how it was.
Finally, some of the workers formally and appropriately presented their concern to the leaders of the company. Behind closed doors the leaders met to discuss this issue. Some of them knew in their heart that yes, red stop signs make more sense, but they had always made blue ones. Such a change would involve extreme hassle, such as ordering a different paint color. And how could this be done effectively? Fears surfaced among the leaders that there would be a misunderstanding from the community when they began to notice red stop signs in their area rather than the blue ones they had become accustomed to seeing. Suppose the workers responsible for ordering this paint were to get a red that wasn’t quite the correct shade. In fact, the drivers may even be so confused by the regulatory red color that they fail to recognize stop signs for what they are!
The leaders knew that a large portion of the employees there at ACME were anxiously awaiting a formal response. Excitedly they conversed among themselves about the right direction the company would finally be going.
Finally, the leadership released a statement. It read as follows: “We acknowledge that red stop signs would be a more accurate interpretation of state transportation regulations, but in order to maintain unity within the company and to maintain safe recognition of our stop signs by the drivers in our community, we will continue producing blue stop signs as we have been.”
A few of the workers cheered, but most of them were dismayed. You can image the instantaneous disunity that resulted within the company. What will become of it? What will the state regulatory commission do as they look on the situation? What will the genuinely concerned workers do now? Can they in good conscience stay at the ACME Sign Company knowing a better, more publicly recognizable sign could be produced? Sadly, the outcome has not been good in the time since the company made their decision. Several workers have left, and the unity has been crumbling as more and more things like this come up at board meetings.
The leaders sit in the conference room desperately trying to figure out what is wrong with the company. “Why must our workers display such blatant lack of unity?” the CEO said one day. “Our company is not growing like it should. We should be hiring workers every week!” Indeed they should be, but little did that CEO and board of directors realize that their complacency and traditions may have been the reason. To top it all off, they began to blame their very strong and aggressive competitor, NATAS Manufactures for sowing seeds of disunity among ACME’s workers. As much as they wanted to justify themselves and point the blame, the true fact of the matter remained clear. The disunity was not being caused by any desire by the workers to do wrong — it was exactly opposite. It was the desire to do right by the workers. They weren’t being rebellious at all. They weren’t creating disunity. They simply saw a problem with the traditionally manufactured product and wanted to do their part to better follow what the state wanted.
It wasn’t a life or death decision…or was it? If the signs are being overlooked at intersections because they are misunderstood (especially by drivers who don’t use that those same roads every day), and drivers are crashing into each other, then it really is a life or death decision. Would the change be difficult? No. Would the community be confused by the change? Possibly those who have given up trying to figure it out, but mostly it would be an eye-opening and welcome change. Would it make more sense? Definitely.
Is this post causing disunity? Possibly, but why? By whom? Should it?