Have you noticed that there seems to be division among us?
Unless you don't watch the news, look at the paper, peruse social media, or talk to anybody, you probably are well aware of the division and vitriol that is everywhere. Politics is the obvious example. But we find ways to fight and argue about nearly anything! Whether that's because you self-identify as a blowhard or simply don't want to give up any ground or see another perspective, we are really good at arguing, disagreeing, and establishing division.
Sometimes that can be overwhelming. Sometimes it seems there are so many different views and I don't have all the details on any of them to offer a good argument one way or the other. I know my views but everybody else voices their opinion on such a big, loud, perhaps even obnoxious scale that quiet-tempered me doesn't stand a chance of going up against these folks.
Then I realize the error of my ways:
I'm focusing on the division instead of Jesus.
In Acts 10, God removed a key point of division between the Jews and the Gentiles—food. In a vision, he showed Peter that animals that were viewed by Jews as unclean were now safe to eat. There is a lot of important theological insight behind that, but for the sake of brevity, just think about how incredible that would be to the social structure of the day. Jews and Gentiles could now share a meal—a key aspect of community and hospitality.
We see this significance on another level in Ephesians 2. Here, Paul tells the Ephesians that Christ has removed the dividing wall of hostility so that there is no longer a need for distinctions between believers. The division in that day was so bad that a Gentile could be killed if he entered the area of the temple designated for Jews. Ephesians 2 reminds us that in all of these reasons for division, the way to overcome them is not to focus on the issues but to focus on Jesus!
Verse 14 conveys this important truth: "For he (Jesus) himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility " Again, there is a lot of theological depth in this chapter and even in this verse. But look at one key aspect—Jesus is the one who removes the division!
If Jesus is the one who removes division, I am not!
It's not up to me to overcome everything. It is my job to trust Jesus and tell people about him. This doesn't remove the need for us to study the Scriptures, love our neighbors, and consider true emotions related to the issues, but it does free us up to do so in the best way possible—by loving God and loving others.
The more I study the Bible the more I find that Jesus really is the answer. He's the answer to sin. He's the answer to division. By trusting in Jesus first and foremost, the other aspects of life fall into place. That's not magic nor is it unexpected—it's exactly the way God wants it to be in his love for us. He sent Jesus to be the answer. The answer to our problem of sin. The answer to our division. The answer for the world.
Trust Jesus. Lead people to Him. Allow him to be the one to break down divisions.
Will people still disagree even if they're Christians? Probably... even definitely. But if Christians spend their time looking for resolution in Jesus instead of despite him, we stand a much better chance of being successful—or at least peaceful in the process. And THAT will be an incredible witness to a watching world around us so that they too might want to learn about Jesus and see him remove their divisions, too.
You may think this sounds a bit simplistic. I admit again that there are great insights to be gleaned from further study in the passages mentioned above, but in keeping this short and simple I'm reminded of something Chuck Swindoll said, "There's no such thing as almost sovereign." Either God is sovereign or he isn't (Spoiler alert: he is!)
Because God is sovereign and this brief consideration of these passages claims Jesus defeats division, I trust Him and you should, too.