And all who believed were together and had all things in common. Acts 2:44
Addicts come up with some whacky ideas. Once, while sitting in jail Bible study, an addict told me that God commanded him to share his faith with his drug dealing friends. In order to gain their trust, he had to first use with them. God told me I had to use heroin.
In trying to help addicts, Christians too, come up with some strange ideas. Believing that God completely removes every struggle when one comes to Christ, some believers will tell the addict that he is free from his addiction and no longer needs to do anything about it. You don’t need treatment or AA. You’re no longer an addict because you’re a Christian now.
I struggle in these situations. The most arrogant, rigid, and harsh that I can be, is when I disagree with another about faith and recovery. When someone dares to contradict my beliefs, I take it personally and I make that person an adversary. You’re hurting other addicts with your false beliefs. I must expose your fallacy for all to see. There certainly is an element of desiring to protect addicts from false teaching, but, if I’m honest, my pride is also at stake. I need to be right. In my need to be right, I sometimes create division.
Today’s passage tells of the profound unity that existed in the early church. Those first Christians regularly met together, studying, worshipping, and praying. With all lives pointed at God, they lived in unison with each other. I’d bet that if they had sat down and tried to agree on all the finer points of theology, they’d have fallen apart quickly. In pointing their individual lives at God though, they enjoyed blessed harmony.
I want to live in unity with other Christians, but I also want to know and do what’s right. Sometimes those two things are at odds. There are issues that are worth standing up for, but there are also times, when I’m just fighting because of my pride. I don’t always know when I’m supposed to take a stand or when I should let something slide. I do know that I must not become sinful myself. As soon as I indulge in pride, condescension, and hatred, no matter how right I might be, I’ve become wrong. When balancing unity and truth, I must first make sure my motives are pointed at God and not myself.