HOW TO IDENTIFY AND DEAL WITH DIVISIVE PEOPLE
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. 20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” – Romans 16:17-20
How to Identify Divisive People
So, we know there is such thing as divisive people, and we know we’re supposed to watch out and avoid them – but how can we tell who these people are? In verse 18 of our text, we see they are “persons [who] do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”
Before we go further, you need to know that this is no excuse to avoid merely difficult people. Of course, there are people you would like to deliberately and decisively avoid just because they get on your nerves or intimidate you. This watching out and avoidance is in reference to a specific breed of church folks. They’re not just difficult – they’re dangerous.
Also, before examining the character of these divisive people, remember that this is not a witch hunt. Don’t comb your church directory labelling people with a big red “D” based on these observations. This is about discernment. Meditate on this passage so that it becomes part of the way you think about the church and the people around you, and so that you can be wise in your dealings with others, watching out for the following characteristics: