I’ve been thinking a lot lately about unity among God’s people, especially among women, and I’ve been reminded of a very helpful chapter from The Fruit of Her Hands by Nancy Wilson. A godly older lady walked through this book with me and my sweet sister-in-law when we were engaged, and I am constantly thankful for her sacrificial investment in my life. The wisdom the Lord showed me through her and through this book continues to impact my marriage, my mothering, and my participation in the body of Christ.
Anyway, this particular chapter of the book focuses on relationships between women in the body of Christ. Mrs. Wilson shows us that most of the disagreements and disunity between Christian women come from differences in method, “a procedure or way of doing things” rather than differences in principle, “a basic truth, general law, or doctrine used as a basis of reasoning or guide to actions.” I reread the chapter recently, and I’d like to share some sections that stood out to me.
“We ought to rejoice in a common commitment to biblical principles and in the variety of methods God’s people enjoy.”
“The biggest danger arises when people begin to think their own methods of applying biblical principles are more spiritual. If we fall into this trap, then methods become an issue of first importance to us. The result is a feeling of superiority over others who differ. This obviously leads to self-righteousness, envy, jealousy, defensiveness, and quarrels.”
“In a godly Christian home, the methods should be the result of the husband’s teaching and convictions with the wife’s support and help. This is all the more reason why women should not rudely give input concerning another Christian woman’s application of God’s principles. She may be cheerfully submitting to her husband’s decisions, only to find her sisters stumbling her into disobedience and discouragement.”
“We should have compassion on one another. This means cutting slack, bearing with weaknesses in one another, overlooking sin, forgiving one another, and as Peter says, we should ‘love as brothers’ and be ‘tenderhearted’.”
“Each woman needs to thank God for her gifts and talents and use them to His glory without comparing herself to anyone else.”
“God wants me to be myself in obedience to Him, not to someone else. Then I am free to enjoy the gifts He has given me, and to learn and grow from the godly examples around me.”
In reading these I am convicted that much divisive conversation would be avoided if I talked about the Gospel! And why would I want to talk about anything else? If I make my speech “always gracious, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6), my interactions will be full of the Spirit, full of topics that matter for eternity, and not centered around methods. I think sometimes it’s easier to talk about methods, because they often don’t address matters of our hearts, but our Lord is concerned with our hearts, first and foremost. So I’m praying that my Father will put words of grace on my lips, that He will set His Spirit upon me, and transform my sinful, lazy conversations into ones that bring unity in Christ with all of my sisters.
All quotes from The Fruit of Her Hands by Nancy Wilson, pages 57-67. I’m not sure that I agree with everything Mrs. Wilson teaches, but I can recommend this book.