SGBC Modesto

Sowing Discord

March 13, 2024 by

William Heinrich

Proverb 6:16-19 is called a numerical Proverb.

This writing style is used sparingly in the Bible but it can also be seen in Prov 30:7-9, 24-28, and Job 5:19. The author adopts one number optionally then a second is added as a parallel to it. It should be obvious that all seven are equally an abomination to the Lord, and not just the seventh. All are objects of divine abhorrence. The crime of sowing discord among the brethren is equally as odious to God as shedding innocent blood, not something worse.

We were introduced to the thought of sowing discord in Verse 14, “He devises evil continually, he sows discord”. We also see it in 16:28, “a perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends”. To sow is to broadcast or send it forth. Discord is strife, which is bitter disagreement or conflict. What is said will not bring peace, but strife and confusion.

Why would anyone sow discord?

Some people are so natured as to delight in the mischief it brings forth. He throws a match to watch a fire burn. Some are greedy for power and position, and jealous of others so endowed. They speak to cause suspicion and doubt on those in leadership. Some are selfish and always have to have their way or be right. Some are just not careful. They mean well at heart, but they let their tongue speak without considering the consequences. – This last type is pervasive today.  In most cases the sower would think himself innocent of sowing discord.

Discord is found at work, in clubs, school, the work place, and homes. It is found where people are found. But it ought not be found “among brethren”. When it is, the odor is foul, the sight is repulsive, and the whisper is disgusting. How is it possible that it would happen “among brethren?” The seed should not be sent forth and the soil should not receive it. It takes two for discord to be conceived. The papers are full of bad news. This proves people like to read bad news. Christians are disciples of the good news, but the bad news doesn’t have to be true or false on the tongue of a sower. It will do great damage either way if the soil receives it and it brings strife. Discord can be very painful and injurious.

How can we prevent this from happening “among brethren”? The Bible is our standard. The facts are that part of the damage from discord “among the brother” is slander. Even if it started with truth, by the time it gets around it no longer resembles what was originally said and the victim is slandered and that “among the brethren.” Of course the damage of discord often separates friends and families, and healing may never take place though it should. I have also seen Pastors be the ones sowed against. He is the God-given leader of the church, so he is a visible and real target. Only 20 years ago, the average length of stay for a pastor was three and a half years. It was a common saying that the 1st year was the honeymoon, the second year was the test, the third year was hanging on, and then you are gone. Sad isn’t it? Many churches never grow beyond a certain point and it is often due to discord sown among the brothern. I have seen far too often, once thriving churches go through discord among the brethren and shrink very small, and take many years to make a full recovery.

One of the greatest areas of discord is in what the Bible actually teaches. In Baptism for example, some sprinkle babies and others pour and immerse adults. In Eschatology, some are A-mill, others are post or pre-mill. Of course, I could go on and on about differences in Bible interpretation. Therefore, each church should have a constitution that explains how they function and what they believe. This is necessary to prevent discord “among the brethren.” Constitutions are freely passed out and nothing contrary to what the church adheres to is to be whispered or sent forth. When a person does not believe what his church believes, he simply leaves stating to the Pastor or the congregation gathered, that he has come to a different view than this church holds. It is always hard to leave friends, but it is always wrong to sow what may well turn into strife if watered a little.  Constitutions do not replace or exceed the Bible, but they do help in granting peace in the brotherhood. Constitutions not only contain a doctrinal statement to guard the brotherhood in the area of doctrinal differences, but they explain the activities and government of the church. Discord is not exempt from these areas as well, so a well-read church constitution before membership is part of the answer for the prevention of potential discord among the brethren. The greatest protection of a church body is spirit-led members who sow the gospel and live in love and peace, not discord. Men, women, and children, who live every day to please the Lord and keep in mind the two great commandments: to love God with all that we are and to love our neighbor as ourselves.       

“Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” Psalm 133:1