We're taking a one-day break from the faithful women, which I hope you have enjoyed so far. I'm loving doing them. We'll be back on June 28th with the next woman of faith.
Today I want to talk about a subtlety which is as topical now as it has ever been. It slows us down and moves our focus from Christ to other things.
Creating and maintaining divisions & conflict amongst us.
How does society get drawn into conflict and division? Is it a coincidence or part of a plot?
Matthew, 12:25: “And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.”
Despite this warning, we see how we still have division within our people. Division is a tool of Satan, who has used it for millennia and uses it now with us.
Many people wonder why they find themselves seemingly at odds with others. Why is it that society perpetually has clashing’s of personalities, marches in the streets and verbal wars on election days?
I mentioned in the story of Leah, that Christians should get used to 'different', as that is what the Kingdom of God is made from. It was a thought I got from elsewhere, but a good one. We are all different. However, I now want to talk about 'differences' from which the Kingdom is not made.
One of Satan's key strategies is to create false differences that seem real. This disintegrates societies and even spreads to our families. He has a lot of experience in doing this, and many families have fallen into his trap.
It started with God confusing the languages at Babel because a handful of humans desired to control the rest. That confusion created differences in the family of man. It stopped them from building their empire but had other far-reaching effects. They forgot they were all from the same bloodline of Adam and Eve.
Satan seized on that language division and created some divisions of his own within each language group. Now, Satan makes sure he has each country on earth ever embroiled in some type of conflict within. We don't need arms or warfare for civil unrest, as there are many ways to create mass division.
Having these division forces us to choose between one side or the other. On the surface, we're all the same, until we begin talking deeper. Then we find we are divided politically, religiously, and can even have arguments over our footy teams. We find we have been reared in division.
Even knowing which radio talkback station we listen to tells others which side we are on.
While there is righteousness and sin we will always be divided on that, yet, I am talking more about the hidden and purposefully driven unnecessary conflict that undermines society.
Think about a few typical divisions that make us choose? Dictatorships vs democracies, patriotism vs anarchy, black lives matter vs all lives matter, Liberal vs Labor, Republican vs Democrat, right-wing vs left-wing, greed vs people-focus, silly old people vs selfish young people, husband's wisdom vs wife's wisdom, parents vs children, the value of white-collar workers vs blue-collar, and the list goes on. In our newspapers, we see right-wing and left-wing, and each time we buy one we make a political choice. Even in the church, we don't seem to have to worry about conflict between denominations, we have it alive within each church.
Is it merely coincidence that we have so much division?
Jesus said a house divided against itself cannot stand. Satan wants all societies to fall and all churches and parliaments to disintegrate, and he does that by using people to maintain divisions. We get drawn into those divisions, yet many are simply smokescreens to keep society split. In fact, due to our passion for a 'right' we may be the instigators or flame-fanners of some of them.
In Satan’s quest to maintain division, he wants us to choose between two extreme sides. The news media doesn't help, as extremisms sell papers.
Why does Satan want us extreme? Because Jesus doesn't. he wasn't an extremist himself and wants us to choose likewise. Extremism creates irrationality and that is the last thing needed in our calling. It puts us in the category of extreme fundamentalists, which Jesus wasn’t. Righteousness is understanding how to apply the law, but it is also about understanding people. Jesus saw through all the smokescreens of the day. Rome had theirs, the Pharisees and Lawyers had theirs, and the Sadducees and others had theirs.
John 7:24, says: "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. What Jesus said here is that in many cases what appears to be true is not.
When at the point of decision with some of these supposed choices, our job is to analyse and see what Christ would choose if he were here in person. On voting day would he be a radical left-winger or a right-wing supremacist? Would he be throwing rocks through windows because he didn't get his way? Would he be blue-collar as a carpenter or white-collar as a Rabbi, Lawyer or philosopher?
As we read the gospels, we see Jesus was cunning in all his thought and speech. Many times the Pharisees would try and draw him in, but he wouldn't let them. We should do likewise when we see the news headlines.
We have some dialogue between Jesus and certain groups, each trying to get him to make a choice instead of remaining unbiased and thoughtful or rational.
Matthew 22:15-22 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? They wanted him to choose.
Matthew 22:23 The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him about a complicated marriage, trying to get him to decide one way or the other.
Matthew 22:34-36 The Pharisees heard that Jesus put the Sadducees to silence, so they gathered together with their lawyers to trick him.
Instead of being drawn into their entrapment, he saw through their smokescreen, analysed their questions, in some cases turned the questions back on them, and remained neither extreme nor irrational. We should do the same in our day with what we read, see and hear, and with groups we join.
It is a good policy to deny irrationality, and not be drawn into making avoidable 'choices' on wrong subjects showing others the wisdom of Christ within us. We can ask questions and pull the arguments apart as Jesus did. We can walk circumspectly and see the underlying stealth of those who are attempting to divide us. Ephesians 5:14, See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.
John 14:6 quotes Jesus saying, I am the way, the truth, and the life: Many of life's issues are worth standing up for, yet false differences are a distraction.