Though the Bible was written thousands of years ago, the pages overflow with challenges, triumphs, “drama”, love, tragedy, and other life situations that we today experience and relate to. I often find myself reading through the stories and thinking to myself, “Whoa! That is so me!” Or, “Man, that sounds like _________”.
Though the time was long ago, and the culture was very different than today, we can easily find ourselves relating to the dilemmas and solutions that occur between Bible individuals. Possibly the best example of this is found in Genesis 3. I know, I know. Not another story about Adam and Eve. But stop for a moment and think about the following situation:
A man and a woman make a poor decision, which directly breaks the only rule given, to them. After making this poor decision, they try and “sweep” the problem under the rug by hiding from the Rule Maker. Caught in the act of hiding, the Rule Maker turns to the man, asking why the rule was broken. The man’s response, “It was the woman you gave me…..” (v. 12). So, the Rule Maker looks to the woman, questioning her as well, and she responds with, “The serpent deceived me!” (v. 13).
Though the fall of man is nothing to laugh at, I can’t help but find humor in how similar this situation that took place thousands of years ago, so clearly exhibits one of man’s natural instincts—blaming others for one’s own lack of responsibility. The “well he did…”s and “but she said…”s started long before our existence on this earth. People, even Christians, are known for pointing the finger at those around us in order to dodge consequence of our own poor decisions.
Though this habit of ours may not seem to be such a big deal for some, God teaches through scripture that this “habit” of mankind’s can literally destroy the church.
The destruction begins with two or more Christians grumbling amongst each other. This grumbling may appear in the form of shifting blame to someone else, gossip, rumors, or strong argument. In any
case, we are warned by James to avoid grumbling amongst each other in order to spare ourselves from God’s wrath on judgment day (James 5:9).
This warning was instituted by God’s wisdom, knowing that such grumbling can lead to division or parting of ways in the church. He knew that when the church—a family founded on unity—splits over grumbling, the outside unbelievers, or even inside weak believers, can be turned away from Christianity as a whole.
Wow. Who would have thought that one argument, one point of finger, one disagreement, or one rumor, can permanently turn a lost soul away from the Church and God’s love? Well, God did. The same God who refused to tolerate grumbling amongst New Testament Christians, watches over you and I today. His desire for unity and peace remain unmoved.
As each of us enters into a new season of work or school, a time when we usually make lists of changes we hope to make, may we move “seeking peace” to the top of our list. May we be a people who avoid grumbling at all costs, understanding and remembering that failing to do so can in fact cost someone their eternal home in Heaven.
Let us remember that our “Judge is standing at the door!” (James 5:9)