A Country Divided: Destruction from Within

And the people will oppress one another…(Isaiah 3:5)

Our country is more divided that it has, quite possibly, ever been. We work against one another putting ourselves in different camps: Christians and Muslims, Republicans and Democrats, pro-life vs. pro-choice, no guns or more guns. You get the idea.
One of the consequences of Israel’s rebellion against God was that because of their stubborn hearts they started to oppress one another. Truth be told, the further we remove ourselves from God, who is love, the further we will drift away from unity and grow in hatred for one another.
Love is what brings people together. Love is what allows us to move past hatred and
towards unity.
I have heard so many different times about people losing Facebook friends over a post on some social issue or a disagreement during election time. Attitudes like this only polarize us as a country even more. The banner of our country is not love and unity it is hatred and polarization.
Unless we turn to love, we will destroy ourselves from within.

Unless we turn to love, we will destroy ourselves from within.


Now, I believe that the only type of true love that brings people together in solidarity is found in Christ. However, if you believe differently from me on this issue, I can respect that. We can certainly still be friends, but in my opinion, we will never become truly united without understanding and extending God’s unconditional love to our fellow man. It’s far too easy to default to hatred.
What really burns me is when I see Christians pointing the finger, creating different camps and ostracizing people, because they are not like us. We feel as though its our duty to tell them how badly they’re sinning. The world screams hypocrite, because quite frankly, on many levels, we are acting as one.
I don’t see many Christians on social media being honest about their own personal struggles with sin, but I do see many Christians feeling as though its their duty to call out sin in others in the public arena. I think if Christians really want to show the unconditional love of Christ that binds people together in solidarity they have to allow love to be their banner. Please, don’t negate the truth, love without truth is not love. There must be a balance of the two.
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I wonder what would happen if instead of feeling as though it’s our duty to blast sin in others from our social media platforms, we took the time to invite those different from us into our homes. What if, we just simply made a choice to love them, for where they were at, in that moment. Of course, use wise judgement in this and don’t put your family at risk for their safety, but the majority of the time this would not be an issue anyways.
We often have such a tremendous fear of people who are different from us. We don’t need to fear them. We need to try and understand them. When someone feels understood by us, we have won the right to speak into their life. Without first understanding someone and hearing their story, it is highly unlikely they will hear what we have to say about the truth of the gospel. Especially if they are a group that has been ostracized by many Christians.
As Christians, we have to remember that we are not the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who draws people to conviction. It is the Spirit that opens blinded eyes to see. I wonder what would have happened to Jesus’ ministry if He would have operated like us, ostracizing people, creating different camps and only feeling the need to blast sin in other people. Sure, Jesus called people out on some stuff, but, Jesus’ ministry was first and foremost directed by love, with a beautiful balance of truth. Jesus gave us the perfect example on how to treat our fellow man, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”- 1 John 3:16

Love.


Love is what we all long for in our lives. Love is what brings healing, hope and restoration. Love fosters unity. Love brings people together.
The religious leaders in Jesus’ day were men who were a lot like us. Their lives were not characterized by love and so they were quick to condemn. They were almost always angry. They even made it their personal vendetta to make sure the son of God, a man whose life and ministry was all about love, was murdered. They did not balance truth and love, but lived according to the letter of the law. They were all truth and no love.
As Christians we cannot only be all about love though either. The reality of sinful man is just that, they’re sinful. Therefore, they’re in need of forgiveness of sin. They’re in need of a cleansing from the inside out from the darkness of their own hearts. That is the truth we as Christians must walk in. Man is sinful, Jesus lived a perfect life without sin and the only way for sinful man to be restored back into right fellowship with God and experience eternal life in the glories of Heaven for all eternity is to repent and place their faith in the resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ.
How we present this message to the world either polarizes us further from people or brings us together. The balance of love and truth make all the difference. A right understanding of the two will keep us from creating camps, living in self-righteousness and ostracizing people. Our love, through Christ, and God’s truth found in His word can draw people together through the life-changing transformative work of Jesus Christ.
Lord, forgive us. Forgive us when we allow self-righteousness to enter our hearts that causes us to polarize ourselves from other people. Lord, I think much of the world doesn’t want much to do with Christ, because His followers are not first broken over their own sin. We’re too busy pointing the finger. Help us to deal with the plank in our own eye first. Help us to balance love and truth. May we never allow our lives to be led by only love or only truth, but gives us wisdom in knowing how to live in light of love and truth. Lord, help me to extend love to those who are different than me. Jesus did that. He ate with them. He invited them to dine with Him at His table and extended His love to them. Lord, I want to live the same way. Father, help us. As a nation, we Christians, who claim your name, repent for our hatred. We repent for our self-righteousness. We repent for how we have not lived like Jesus. Give us grace. Lord, pour it into our hearts, so we can extend it to others, in Jesus name, amen.

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