It is easy for us to be friendly towards those people with whom we have a good relationship. It is much more difficult to be friendly when they disagree with us about many things. However, all true Christians are the children of God (1 John 3:1). Therefore, they are all brothers and sisters in Godís family. God, their Father, loves them, so they too should love each other (1 John 4:7-11). In other words, Christians should care about each other and they should try to help each other.
After an argument, we have a choice. We can choose to receive the other person with kindness; or, we can send that person away. It seems clear from Paulís words in Romans 14:1-4 that there were serious arguments in the church at Rome. The Christians there could have sent each other away. They could have tried to establish churches where everyone agreed about almost everything. However, Paul did not recommend that. Instead, he recommended that they should use their disagreements as an opportunity to show love to each other. By that means, Paul said, they would bring honour to God.
We think that it is right, sometimes, for churches to separate. God can use such situations to establish a new church in an area where formerly, there was only one. In fact, it seems that had already happened in Rome (16:3-5). In such situations, the two churches may have different beliefs about certain matters. However, those two churches must not be bitter towards each other. They are not enemies; they should help each other to do Godís work. So, Paul urged the two churches in Rome to be friendly towards each other.
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© 2018, Keith Simons.