The Great Divide

Canyon

Why do we focus on the things that separate us?  We spend so much time and energy reading books and listening to people talking about how our side is right and the other side is wrong that I think sometimes we forget what is truly important.

Political division has the potential to turn brother against brother, friend against friend.  Do we hold more tightly to political beliefs than to Jesus Christ?  Do we hold more tightly to our political position than our love extends to others?

Roman 12:9-21

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[ says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

   “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
   if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Are we more concerned with being right- our side is superior- than we are with trying to live out what the Bible teaches us?  There is so much that we don’t know in this life (God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways)- so many things we can speculate about.

Would Jesus have been a liberal or a conservative? When people ask questions like that- it makes me angry.

Why?  Because it focuses on what divides us, and it can keep us from loving fully- when we argue political position rather than following Christ’s example.

Just live out the Gospel.  Can’t we all agree on that?

Is our pride in being right more important than loving and serving those around us?

Do you making sweeping judgments about a political group- lumping everyone together?

Do you mock and belittle their position- taking pride in your superiority of thought?

If you truly feel that a brother or sister in Christ is being deceived, do you pray for them in love and reach out to them?  Or do you think about how ignorant they are?  What is going on in your heart?

I have wrestled with this so much over the years, but the older I get the more I find that those things that preoccupy my thoughts have nothing to do with political position and everything to do with obeying God’s Word and serving the people He has called me to serve.

If we all just sought to be obedient and use the gifts that God gives us- to support and love each other-despite our differences- to not turn away from each other in anger but give each other the benefit of the doubt…

We can’t know another person’s heart.  Yes, we can watch for fruit- (Matthew 7).  But I think sometimes we are so set in our position- that becomes our focus- ideology supersedes our love for people. (Look up confirmation bias and belief perseverance- be aware of our tendency to cling to our own position- even in the face of evidence that is in direct contradiction)

When we post something on Facebook or other social mediums- are we more concerned with being right and flaunting our position or making fun of the other side- or are we seeking to love, encourage- and “spur one another on to love and good deeds?” (Heb. 10:24)

As I post this, I am thinking these things over seriously concerning my own actions- and praying that I will be seeking to encourage- to share my passion- to spur on my brothers and sisters in Christ and not focus on what divides us.

This does not mean that we water down truth- or we have to compromise our convictions. We must endeavor to be obedient to God’s Word- even though that may cause tension or division at times.

Please hear my heart– take some time to think about your motivations when it comes to your political convictions- and how much energy are you extending to prove you are right- are you motivated by pride?

If you have said things that have hurt a friend or co-worker, and now regret it, will you seek reconciliation?  We can disagree politically and still respect and love each other.  We can focus on the things that unite us in Christ.

If you have other thoughts to share- I would encourage you to comment on this post.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14

 

 

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