Is it possible that divisions in church result largely from spiritual immaturity? That even as we think of the divisions in our churches that will inevitably come immediately to mind, that the real reason for these divisions is not so much our beliefs as the spiritual immaturity of the people who hold them?
I don’t think so, but I hope that opening paragraph got your attention like this passage of Scripture got mine. Because it does seem to me that although spiritual immaturity may not adequately or entirely explain our divisions, this passage teaches it does factor in there somewhere.
Let’s face it. If we were talking about a divorce, rarely if ever would we say the split was entirely the fault of one party or the other. We realize both parties have played a part in the demise of the marriage—not always equally, to be sure, but each has played a role in it none-the-less.
Perhaps it is worth considering if this is analogous to divisions in the church, and whether this might be at least some of what Paul is getting at in this passage. It might also recall the words of Jesus that his followers should take care of the massive plank in their own eye before they try and attend to the speck in somebody else’s.
I am not comfortable with the implications of these words for my own life, and I’m not sure that anyone else who reads will be comfortable with them either. They cut very close to the bone.
Please please please know that I in no way mean this to be a not- so- subtle attack on any one or any certain position. Perhaps this word is strictly for me, speaking only to my own immaturities and the divisive quarrels they continue to cause. Or maybe I am just plain wrong in my understanding of what Paul is saying here; it won’t be the first time I’ve been wrong, or the last.
But maybe, just maybe, in the divisions in which we are all embroiled, we should first look to ourselves, to our own immaturity, rather than needing to take the fight somewhere else.