And the Reubenites and the Gadites gave the altar this name: A Witness Between Us—that the Lord is God. -Joshua 22:34
Every person is built for community. This reality is even deeper in Christianity. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote that the goal of all Christian community is that “they meet one another as bringers of the message of salvation.” A situation for bringing that message can be seen in Joshua chapter 22. The Eastern tribes of Israel built an altar to the Lord God as a memorial, but the Western tribes suspecting idolatry went up to war against them. They accused the Eastern tribes of rebellion in a “how could you” sort of way, but were met with a good reason for building the altar. In the end they agreed that all was well, and no one was punished. But we can see that in our day of age this kind of rebuke is often not taken as seriously as the Israelites did. If your brother in Christ was slipping into some sort of sin would you be willing to “make war” against him? Would you be willing though to call them out gently and with all respectfulness? For that is what we are called to do in Christian community. We are to help each other follow and remind each other of Christ and his glorious salvation.
Father you are majestic in holiness. Thank you for teaching us to live together in peace through your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.