Sometimes words like disunity and division let us off the hook. We think, There’s nothing as serious as disunity or division in our church. But spiritual unity which creates an environment conducive to the fullness of the Holy Spirit requires a high standard of peace among people. Attitudes, words and actions that might not create outright disunity in worldly venues, stifles the free flowing work of the Holy Spirit in church circles. For example, the world tolerates and even prizes the skills of sarcastic humor, but God says we are to not let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths, but only what is helpful for building people up. To disregard that standard is to “grieve the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 4:29-30) Go to the next page to consider and confess other interpersonal standards that when disregarded create friction and blockages.

Go through the following list to reconsider God’s interpersonal standards, knowing that any shortcoming in these areas will eventually result in friction that grieves and stifles the Holy Spirit:

•(Ephesians 4:2) Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

•(Colossians 3:13) Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

•(Philippians 2:3) In humility consider others better than yourselves.

•(Matthew 5:23-24) If you have offended someone, go ask forgiveness first and be reconciled.

Here are some questions to ponder in case you are part of the “friction” problem:

•Did someone correct you and you responded defensively?

•Have you lost patience with someone and showed it in your facial expression or tone of voice?

•Have you been mulling over how a person has injured you and what you’d like to say to them?

•Have you used harsh words recently but rationalized them in some way?

•Have you been ignoring someone due to prejudice, awkwardness or dislike?

•Is there someone more talented or advantaged than you whom you dislike because of that?

(Ephesians 4:30-32) Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God…Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we want so much to have a church full of Your love for everyone. I know, however, that Your love is beyond anything we can muster on our own. You’re ready to impart Your love to us, but forgive us for the way we block the fruit of the Spirit with our tolerance of friction. Please be patient with us. We desperately need Your Spirit to pinpoint our unloving attitudes and actions every time they pop up. And help us to care enough to please You that we will quickly choose the course of love. Amen.