Encourage the brothers.

Acts 15, 1 Samuel 8-10

Acts 15:32 – And Judas and Silas… encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words.

Lord God, this was a potentially explosive and divisive issue.  They were discussing what to do about a tradition thata you had commanded and was millennia old.  Yet, we see a church make a decision in love and handed down that decision out of love. They dealt with each other brothers and not as opponents.  When people disagree with me, it’s easy to see them as opponents and enemies rather than as brothers who disagree and who are struggling to keep the unity.  Forgive me, LORD, for seeing people who disagree with me as opponents and for treating them as such.  Forgive me and help me view them as brothers and as fellow disciples of yours.  Help me love them even though our disagreement may be sharp.  Help me look for ways to encourage and strengthen them in their faith.  Lord, as much as it depends on me, help me to live at peace with everyone.  I cannot control how they treat me or what they do, but I can control how I see them, how I treat them, and what I do.  Help me to see them as brothers, help me to bear with them in love, and so preserve the unity of your body, the church.  This is your church, dear Lord, keep it together.  Amen.