THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
RULES FOR PEACE AND UNITY
There is much conflict and disunity in Christian communities,
at times leading to factions and even splits. This is a failure
in love. We must remember that “the whole law is fulfilled
in one statement, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor
as yourself.’” (Gal 5:14). If we fail to do so,
there will be conflict, which will destroy not only relationships
but also the body and its mission. “But if you go on
hitting and devouring one another, beware that you are not
consumed by one another.” (Gal 5:15).
or conflict in the body is about living by the Spirit or in
the flesh. The choice is ours. “I say, then: live by
the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of
the flesh.” (Gal 5:16). Now Paul lists 15 “works
of the flesh” (Gal 5:19a). Of the 15, a majority or
8 have to do with works that lead to disunity or division.
These are “hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of
fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions
of envy” (Gal 5:20b-21a).
From these we can put together the following rules for peace
and unity in the body, focusing on caveats.
Do not harbor ill-feelings or negative thoughts against a
brother. Be considerate of the shortcomings of others (as
you consider your own shortcomings as well). Be patient, tolerant,
forgiving. Love unconditionally, unilaterally and sacrificially.
Do not compete with other groups, ministries or services.
The only “competition” is for souls. All who serve
God are on the same side. The whole body shares in the victories
and “defeats” of any part of the body. We are
all in this together.
not speak against other Christians. All are children of God,
endowed with inherent dignity. Do not malign a brother or
co-worker. Do not gossip.
Do not begrudge the attention given by leaders to others.
Do not be jealous of the accomplishments of others. Rather,
be inspired by those who do well, and aspire to do as well.
When in disagreement, control your emotions and refrain from
anger. Always speak with respect and with a desire to resolve
Never think just of yourselfyour preferences or points
of viewbut always consider the good of the body. Be willing
to die to self for the larger good.
Do not dissent from the official vision and mission of the
community. If you have a disagreement, you may take the matter
up with the concerned leadership in a respectful way. If your
preferred way is not followed, then let the matter go.
If you have a disagreement with the leadership, do not induce
others to support you. Do not stir up trouble by speaking
against the leadership. Do not form factions.
not fight each other. There is only one enemy, and it is the
devil. If we fight each other and this leads to disunity or
division, then we become allied with the enemy.
Do not be envious of those who seem favored or who move up
the leadership ladder. Rather, rejoice with them and pray
do not look down on other Christian workers, groups or ministries.
They are your allies in the spiritual war. Besides, that fledging
group might be the next mighty work or wave of the Holy Spirit.
The above works of the flesh can easily lead to conflict and
disunity, and as such, prevent a body from doing its work
or mission, thus negatively affecting what God wants to achieve
in the world. Thus they are lumped together with other serious
sins such as “immorality, impurity, licentiousness,
idolatry, sorcery, .... drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.”
(Gal 5:19b-20a,21b). Paul then gives a serious warning. “I
warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things
will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal 5:21c).
Christians would readily see the wrong that is in the above
list of 7 works of the flesh. But those same Christians do
find themselves engaging in the other 8 works of the flesh
that lead to disunity. For Paul, these are just as seriously
sinful, and exclude one from the kingdom.
us strive to bring peace, unity and good order in our communities.
“Let us not be conceited, provoking one another, envious
of one another.” (Gal 5:26).