Some months ago I heard a pastor tell the congregation his theory of what Satan was doing before the dawn of 2020 and 2021. He said he believes Satan gathered his armies together and gave them one mission: divide. Divide the body of Christ; divide the nation of America; divide families, friends, co-workers.
This imagery of Satan giving orders to his armies has stayed with me all these months because, unfortunately, I see division all around me. It’s no longer something I only witness through pointless arguments on social media, it’s become prevalent even in myself and the way I view others.
I will say, I’ve become quite good at separating a person from their opinions, and I believe people are not defined by any political, social, or economic beliefs they hold. But despite this truth God has taught me over the past year and a half, I’m still human. As much as I’ve tried to not let other people’s opinions about the coronavirus, vaccinations, and masking affect me, I would be lying if I said my judgements, thoughts, and beliefs of others were always untarnished by our conflicting viewpoints.
And I don’t like that.
I don’t like that I let someone’s view of one issue taint my view of them. I don’t like that I criticize and judge other people simply because we don’t see eye to eye. And I don’t like that this happening all around our country and within the church.
I know the issues surrounding COVID, the vaccine, and masking are polarizing for many, and I know that everyone thinks and feels differently about these topics for different reasons, but I want to put this all aside for a little bit and emphasize our calling as Christians and as members of the body of Christ.
In Ephesians 4:1-6, the Apostle Paul writes, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
We are to stand out as Christians. We are not to conform to the ways of this world. Yes, have an opinion, but respect the differing views of others. Yes, stand strong in your convictions, but realize that not everyone will have the same ones. Yes, disagree with your neighbors and even your fellow believers, but continue to speak the truth in love.
I don’t want this post to come across as a squishy, feel-good, “just love each other” sort of post. Instead, I want this post to encourage self-examination. To encourage us to stop pointing condemning fingers, stop gossiping about our neighbors’ scandalous opinions, and start repenting of the pride and self-righteousness produced by enemy-ordained division.
Let us examine our motives, our actions, and our words before we point out the specks in someone else’s eye. Let us ask the Lord to humble us. Let us remind ourselves of the bigger picture. Let us die to ourselves so that Christ may be magnified.
We may strongly disagree with some (or even many) of our brothers and sisters in Christ, but we need not let these differing opinions affect our view of them as beloved children of God, nor should we let Satan succeed in causing division among Christ’s body.
I want to leave you with some words from Jesus. In John 13:34-35, He says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Grace and peace,