Luke 12:53 “The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.”
The news is full of the very thing that Jesus predicted would come. Division. Hatred. Wars. Rumors of war.
Matthew 24:6-8 “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
All the signs of the end times are here.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
Today, we are more divided than ever. Lines of race, culture and religion have been drawn. Often, and in the flesh, we take sides. Both sides have arguments that are valid. Both seek to be heard and validated. Drop the rhetoric, the arguments and look each in the eye. What do you see? Truly… a soul for whom Christ died. God’s love is for both.
The saddest commentary is how we, the church are divided. We have those who want this ministry or that. Others feel the pastor is not operating God’s church the way ‘they’ think it should be run. There are those whose evangelistic fervor disdains those who don’t feel the way they do. Others see running busses into the inner city as a waste of money. Some feel we need a bigger building, while still others want it spent on the poor. Give to missions or spend it here at home. We shoot our wounded instead of offering a hand of healing and restoration. It has gotten so petty that churches have split over the color of paint that was chosen.
Ultimately, the devil seeks to sever and divide us from the very relationship from which we draw our power. When he can get us fighting amongst ourselves, he has to expend little energy to keep us from our true task – winning the lost. All throughout history, it is recorded that the power of God fell when His people were in one accord. In the upper room, the power fell because they were of one accord. Revivals throughout history came because they all had a common goal – souls saved for His glory.
It is becoming more and more evident to me that if we can identify division in its infancy, we can gain a greater victory than the devastation it will cause if we ignore it. When my heart becomes troubled with another brother or sister, I must confront it and deal with it; personally for sure and with them if forgiveness and healing is needed.
The scorner and the critic are taken in a spirit of iniquity. We must pray for them, but also follow biblical guidelines for how to handle those who seek to divide God’s people. Direct confrontation is never easy nor enjoyable – but most certainly it is necessary. To neglect it is like leaving an infection go untreated: it will only cause greater damage and even death if left alone.
Our hatred needs to be turned at the root of where this all began – the devil. He needs to be the one we recognize is at the root of racial, cultural and religious division. We fight because we seek to be understood. Wisdom tells us to first seek to understand; then we will be understood. The only true change I can effect is within my own heart. If I must take sides, may be the one that is honoring to God.