Why do so many churches have problems and conflicts? In our case, it comes from older members who don't want to welcome some of the new people who've moved into our area, but it could be almost anything. Why is this? — Mrs. N.D.
Not all churches have problems and conflicts, of course; in my experience, most are marked by love and peace, and are far more harmonious than most secular institutions. The Bible says, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace" (Colossians 3:15).
Why do conflicts, however, sometimes occur in churches? There may be many reasons (at least on the surface). Whatever the immediate problem, however, the real cause is usually a failure to put Christ and His will first. Sometimes, for example, a person or a small group of people will try to control everything that takes place, instead of seeking God's will or being sensitive to the concerns of others. They have forgotten the Bible's command to "serve one another in love" (Galatians 5:13).
But there is a deeper reason why churches sometimes have conflicts. It is this: Satan knows that one of God's most effective tools is a church that is committed to Christ and is actively doing His will—and the devil will do everything he can to block God's work and bring confusion to His people. The Bible warns, "Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).
Don't become disillusioned with your church. Instead, ask God to make you a peacemaker, and to help others catch a vision for reaching their neighborhood—and our world—for Christ.