10 Indicators You Are Dealing With A Divisive Person (and what to do about it)

What The Bible Has To Say About Division And The Importance Of Unity

Scripture has a lot to say about the importance of pursuing unity with other brothers and sisters. The following verses are just the tip of the iceberg.

“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” -Proverbs 18:2

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” -Matthew 5:9

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” -Romans 12:18

“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.”  -1 Corinthians 1:10

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” -Ephesians 4:1-3

“Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” -Philippians 2:2

“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” -Colossians 3:14

Ten Indicators You Are Dealing With A Divisive Person

What does a divisive person look like? You may think that this is a rather easy question to answer, but it’s not.

  1. The divisive person is usually some who knows a lot about the bible and they probably have been a Christian for many years. So you would think that they know better, but they don’t. They know a lot about the bible but there seems to be a disconnect between their knowledge and the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self, control).
  2. The divisive person has a hard time maintaining friendships (even within their own family) because they usually find something they disagree with and refuse to associate with others when this happens.
  3. The divisive person seems to be more motivated by being right than being loving.
  4. The divisive person sabotages their own spiritual growth because they tend to stiff arm deep, messy, meaningful community where discipleship flourishes.
  5. The divisive person is highly dogmatic.
  6. The divisive person likes to build coalitions with others who agree with their point of view.
  7. The divisive person frequently finds themselves in quarrels but they believe the issue is with other people.
  8. The divisive person most likely has created an echo chamber where they only hear from people (teachers, authors, articles, social media, friends) that reinforces their own narrow views. The don’t listen, or they filter out, anything that would force them to think outside of the box.
  9. The divisive person ends distracting the church from the mission of making disciples because time and energy is used up in endless squabbles.
  10. The divisive person keeps people from experiencing the joy of unity and fellowship with others in the church.

What The Divisive Person Needs To Know

The first thing the divisive person needs to know is related to all the verses that are listed above, the Bible highly values unity in the the church. Jesus showed us how important unity is when he said this in John 17:20-21,“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” When we are unified as brothers and sisters we reflect the unity of the Trinity to a watching world.

The second thing a divisive person needs to know is that it is a sign of being spiritually mature to disagree with someone theologically and still being able to experience unity. Do you think Jesus’ disciples agreed about everything? Do you think the Christians at Rome, Corinth, or Philippi agreed about everything? The obvious answer to these questions is no.

“In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, charity.”

At this point we should probably mention the difference between essential and non-essential beliefs. For example, I am willing to fight for the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the grave. This is an essential belief to our Christian faith. I am not willing to fight about pre/mid/post tribulation. I have my opinion, but I believe this is a non-essential issue. We can agree to disagree and still experience unity.

The other thing I would want to communicate to the divisive person is that each church has a Statement of Faith, or at least they should. The Statement of Faith does a pretty good job of explaining to all who will pay attention what is important to that particular church.

In my own personal experience a divisive person, all too often, fails to make the distinction between essential and non-essential beliefs. Or they are up in arms over issues that have very little to do with the church’s Statement of Faith. What ends up happening is that every disagreement feels like a hill that they are willing to die on. I think we should stop and consider these wise words from Francis Schaeffer:

“It is in the midst of a difference that we have our golden opportunity. When everything is going well and we are all standing around in a nice little circle, there is not much to be seen by the world. But when we come to the place where there is a real difference, and we exhibit uncompromised principles but at the same time observable love, then there is something that the world can see, something they can use to judge that these really are Christians, and that Jesus has indeed been sent by the Father.”

So, Where Do We Go From Here?

If you are reading this and you have a nagging suspicion that you are a divisive person then you need to know that it is OK to disagree with other brothers and sisters regarding non-essential beliefs. It truly is possible to disagree and still experience unity. As I already stated, the apostles disagreed and experienced fellowship and unity. The early churches disagreed (a lot!) and still worshipped and did life together.

If you are reading this and you are involved with a divisive person I would encourage you to love them, and if the opportunity presents itself, explain to them the difference between essential and non-essentials beliefs. Or, talk to them about the church’s Statement of Faith. Help them to understand that the Statement of Faith contains the teachings that the church believes they need to be in agreement about and that it is OK (and healthy) to allow for disagreement regarding issues outside of the Statement of Faith.

If you tend to be a people-pleaser like me it is extremely difficult because you want everyone to be happy and to get along. I have learned through many years of ministry that there is only so much you can do when it comes to dealing with a divisive person. The strange irony is that we can end up making ourselves miserable if we think we can make everyone else happy.

Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas for dealing with divisive people.


  1. Sheila Arrington says:

    I see some of me in the description but not exactly. I know I’m hurting and losing friendships and I’m concerned about the path I seem to be on. I want to change but my life circumstances are so sad. I’m scared of myself . Divisiveness is a new definition to me . By becoming aware of this I will work hard to not be that stereotype . Lord help me

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heather says:

      Praying for you, and praising God that you want to change for the better and are clearly open to learning new ways. I am confident with God you will get there. Remember to rely on God He is with you and with him there is always hope. Even in life’s saddest circumstances (I’ve had my fair share), remember that it all leads to the Glory of God. God is good and God wins, therefore good does win. Stay strong in the Lord. Miracles are coming your way.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Encouraging words!


  2. mistykorando says:

    Titus 3:10 warn a decisive person once then warn them a second time, after that have nothing to do with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Appreciate your response! Good to hear from you!


      1. Jonathan Grandt says:

        I’d like to take the time and answer this entire post point for point —— I don’t have the time and I’m sure I would just be seen as divisive. One thing that did stand out to me of course is that apparently the “dividing line” is only appropriately set by the particular Church’s statement of faith, aka the clergy or group of people in charge, rather than the Bible.

        It’s wrong for brother Joe over here to be “divisive” because it’s actually the leadership’s job to set the dividing line. Ah well. At least this article would serve very well as an aid to local church pastors who really want to get people in line.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Jonathan! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. I would imagine that we can agree that each church having a statement of faith is very important. I definitely believe that to be true. How else would a person know if they could agree to join a local church or become a member? Yet it is very important that the statement of faith is grounded in the Word of God. That is key! The statement of faith, grounded in the Word, is what a local church has in common. It is what they believe to be true. Outside of the statement of faith there are many other important truths from the Word of God. But we must learn to have charity over secondary doctrinal issues. That just might be one of my main points in the article. “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, charity. In all things, Jesus Christ.” God bless and have a great day!


    2. According to the explanation of a divisive person , you have just discribed me. However I didn’t realize that I was this way until now. I have had a lot of things that probably caused me to be this way so help me to get out of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Sherry! Do you have a mature Christian friend that you can talk to about this?


      2. Dave says:

        I’m sure many of us see these things in ourselves. But that doesnt mean we are all devisive. I know the difference between essential and non essential beliefs and do not expect everyone to agree with me. But that doesn’t mean that we won’t run into problems and it isn’t always our fault. Christians are just people. We make mistakes just like everyone else. The difference is we learn to forgive each other and live with each others faults. Sometime we need to put some distance between our selves and tje person that we are having a problem with. Church leaders sometimes see this as a failure. But it is really essential to the health of the congegation. But on a personal level we still need to forgive each other even if we need distance to be healthy and effective. Sometime we can find that in the congregation we are in, but sometimes we need to go somewhere else. Because it is better than causing problems in the group.
        Whatever we do is should be done with love and as little disruption as possable. So that the congregation stays healthy. This is not divisive it is keeping from causing devision in the church. Then when you can you can come back and continue to work with the church knowing that you considered the whole group more important than your own difficulty.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you for taking the time to respond! Probably the best thing we can do is to ask God if we see any of these divisive ways in us and if we do to ask God to help us change. Thanks for stopping by!


    3. Joan Wallace says:

      A very helpful and informative piece of writing. I really appreciate that it covered both the description of divisiveness and the answer to anyone who feels that they may be a divisive person. Also the piece about essential and non essential statements of faith. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and insight.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Joan. Have a nice day!


  3. Leslie D Suggs says:

    How can two walk together, AMOS 3:3 WITHOUT AGREEING

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ken Collins says:

    This really spoke to me…!! As I have left churches because of things that I couldn’t agree with rather than realizing that we can agree to disagree a bout non-essential matters. Of course, if false doctrine is being taught, “I gotta get out of there!!”. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to hear from you Ken. Hope you are currently plugged into a church and loving it!


  5. Kenneth Collins says:

    Can a comment be modified after it has been posted?


    1. Feel free to add other thoughts/comments. 😀👍🏻


  6. Theresa says:

    Help me, Lord Jesus to put a guard over my mouth and a watch over my lips. Help me Lord Jesus to not be divisive In Jesus Name. Amen!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Will say a prayer for you, Theresa.


  7. Dave Curry says:

    I think everybody has moments when they are divisive. But you have to actively pursue eliminating those feelings from your life. I was raised in a church that was very devisive. They all agreed with each other about what everybody else was doing wrong. It has taken a lot of effort to change my way of thinking to be able to accept that people can still be Christians and not agree with everything I believe to be true. The scripture that spoke the loudest to my was romans 14 :4
    Where it say who are you to judge someone else’s servent, To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the lord is able to make him stand. So I don’t have to worry about any one but myself on matters that are not critical to salvation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like your way of thinking! Hope you have a nice day.


  8. Patricia Perry says:

    LORD JESUS, Forgive me, Reading this article has opened my eyes to my unwanted behavior in myself,pray for me,and thank you for making divisiveness so clear..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Patricia. I will say a prayer for you today. Thanks for stopping by. 😀


  9. Michael S. Stuart says:

    I deal with a Facebook “friend” who criticizes my intelligence (even though I have a degree and he does not) and seems angry at environmentalists (like me). It’s not over theological issues– it’s more over Climate Change and the environment. He knows he is angry. He just criticized me on my FB page today for my “pretense at virtue”. I know I should pray for him. I also want him to think about his behavior and what it looks like to follow Jesus while online. I think it costs me emotional energy to deal with him. I could just un-friend him, but I want to challenge him to grow and be considerate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Michael, it sounds to me like you are handling your friend the right way. I would definitely encourage you to pray for him. Have a nice day!


    2. WalkHumbly says:

      Great Commission: Jesus was speaking to the 11 disciples, and said: go make disciples.
      So, 1: Become a disciple. 2. Go and replicate yourself.
      You can’t make disciples if you are not one.
      He did not say: save the planet. It is a waste of your life to attempt it. God is using the planet to make children of God, then He will throw the earth away.
      Keep your eye on the big picture.


  10. Daniel says:

    Hi Michael, with over 300 denominations of Christianity, the One Church that Christ prayed for is clearly divided and not unified, believing that there are many divisive people within the “so called Christian” Church. Most importantly is the statement that follows this in Titus, which says a Divisive Person is “eternally condemned”….Making yourself known to God and coming before God with a Contrite Heart will prevent this condition (John 1:12). in that, all those who have received God’s Saving grace through faith are not “eternally condemned.”….thx for this opportunity to leave a comment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The ESV says that the divisive person is “self-condemned”. Might I ask what translation do you use? Titus 3:10-11.


      1. WalkHumbly says:

        Being divisive is not an absolute flaw.

        Was Jesus divisive? Was He united with the Pharisees (religious leaders, teachers of the law, Matt 16:5-12)? No. He was strongly opposed to this group. Matt 23+ 13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! … I’d say that was somewhat divisive. Why can’t His followers do likewise and be righteous?

        Why did He bring a sword (Matt 10:34-36)? The sword divides (Heb 4:12). Those who swing the Word will divide, will be divisive. We should definately swing the Word.

        We should balance out the negative aspects of divisiveness with the positive.


  11. WalkHumbly says:

    A few essentials for believers:
    Be born again: John 3:3-8
    Become as little children: Matt 18:3
    Forgive others: Matt 6:15, Matt 18:32-35

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Chui Fang says:

        I came across this and found this to be very accurate in a scenario I am facing. However, I just need a little clarification on point 4 and 9. What exactly do you mean by ‘stiff arm deep, messy, meaningful community’ and ‘ends distracting the church from the mission..’?
        4. The divisive person sabotages their own spiritual growth because they tend to stiff arm deep, messy, meaningful community where discipleship flourishes.
        9. The divisive person ends distracting the church from the mission of making disciples because time and energy is used up in endless squabbles.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. -The divisive person often times will stiff arm meaningful community. That means they tend to stay away from deep relationships.
        -The divisive person will distract others from the mission of making disciples. This distraction would happen if they are needlessly dragging others into unnecessary arguments.
        -Hope that helps!


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s