It was late summer, 1980, about a mile south of the thriving metropolis of Glenn, Georgia. Our family had just bought some land and brought in a Jim Walters home, and with this there was some minor construction work to be done. That is why there was some rough sewn lumber laying in the backyard. Coupled with a sturdy sawhorse, the board was irresistible for two young boys. My brother and I were blissfully seesawing for several seconds when he decided to make a sudden departure. The shift in weight was enough to make me shift on our makeshift playground toy. The end result for the soft inner part of my left leg was a sliver of wood that seemed twelve feet long. An initial reaction of disbelief was quickly followed by involuntary hopping, hollering, and howling. I didn’t want the splinter to stay there, but I dreaded pulling it out of me. Finally, after a seeming eternity, we were able to extricate the small tree from my chubby gam. For a few days, the leg stayed tender to the touch–a reminder of the last time I ever got on a homemade teeter totter.
Paul wrote the Corinth church, a body that was hurt by splinters. Paul gives a vivid description of the wound in 1 Corinthians 1:10-13. Members were splintering into different groups, lining up behind men rather than THE Man. Paul pleaded with them not to let that occur. The basic reason was that these splinters hurt.
Division hurts the church. Feelings are hurt. Spirituality is hurt. The promotion of truth is hurt. The church’s purpose is hurt. Babes and weak Christians in the church are hurt. The innocent as well as the guilty are hurt.
Division hurts the world. They are offended. Or they feel vindicated in staying in the world. They are repelled and repulsed. They are confused. They lose interest.
Division hurts the Christ. The church is His body, and splinters bring Him pain. The Christ that once hung on a rugged piece of wood is more wounded when that for which He died is splintered. Read John 17:20-21, and see how strong Christ’s feelings about unity are.
Truth must be defended to honor the Christ, even if those in error fight and resist. Beyond that, though, what is so precious and dear as to make us prone to splinter His body? The answer is in the question.