He Who is Not Against Us
Jesus spoke plainly concerning the rejection and opposition Christians in every time would face. He compared His own rejection to the rejection His followers should expect when He said, “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master” (Matt. 10:25). The standard Jesus brought is not accepted by all. As some reject His message and others accept it, divisions occur even among members of the same family (Matt. 10:34-36). The well of opposition to Christianity is deep. Even during the time of Jesus, however, His disciples seemed eager to make allies into enemies:
"John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. “For he who is not against us is for us." -Mark 9:38-40
Jesus’s reasoning is as valuable now as it was then. If one is acting within the authority of Jesus and is speaking what is accurate to the Scriptures, he is not against you. Sister congregations of the church that teach and follow the Scriptures are not enemies, nor should any type of competitive spirit arise between brethren based on the location of their gathering for worship.
Philippians 2:3-4 describes the attitude Christians ought to have toward one another, saying, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Certainly this attitude does not stop at the doors to the church building, but extends to the entirety of the family of God. All those who proclaim and follow the truth ought to be treated as allies rather than enemies.
When the disciples saw the man who “was not following us,” they did not see someone doing wrong, they saw someone doing good in a different location. Because he was located in another area, they attempted to suppress him and stop him from behaving righteously. Jesus taught them the principle that must be followed even today: a person is an ally if they are doing what is right and are speaking the truth.
May all Christians determine their friends and enemies based on their response to the truth of God’s Word, rather than their physical location or some other man-made distinction. May all Christians treat their friends with exceptional consideration (Gal. 6:10) and their enemies with love and compassion (Rom. 12:20-21).