Recently, Facebook shut down pages disseminating disinformation. The disinformation was about issues that Americans divide over. The point of disinformation? More division. It is believed that Russian hackers are to blame. It’s the old divide and conquer approach. A divided America is a weaker America. This makes sense. Jesus said something about a divided house (Matt. 12:25).
I find it incredible that people would be influenced by an impeachable source like social media. But I guess it’s not such a stretch. In today’s political climate, people are ready to believe the worst about others; we react first and think later…if ever.
Many are upset by the interference of Russian hackers. We wouldn’t be so divided if the Russians weren’t sowing lies that flower into conflict. So the thinking goes. But we need to be honest. Russian disinformation only works because division already exists in each person’s heart. Our very nature is one of division. You can’t stoke a fire unless there are live coals.
There are a couple facets to this. For one, selfishness primarily governs each of us. Sure, we keep it in check through a complex interplay of socialization, education, legal systems, economics, etc. But strip away that veneer and it’s all about me. If I live for myself, and you live for yourself, that’s division by definition.
Second, we identify with our own characteristics. Male, female, Russian, American, liberal, conservative…we craft our identities around such distinctions. We love to smooch the mirror.
Blaming the Russians for American division is just disinformation, it turns out. Instead of smooching the mirror we need to look in the mirror: Each of us has turned to his own way (Isaiah 53:6). We’ve divided from God and each other because divided is our basic state. It’s not “divided we fall” as the old saying goes. It’s “fallen, we divide.”
Unless we own that division comes from our fallen state our attempts to deal with it will be mere dalliances. Facebook can remove divisive pages but can’t remove division from human nature. God removed division from human nature when Jesus died on the cross. Whether I’m male, female, black, white, young, old, rich, or poor, Jesus stood in for me. When He died, I died. When I died, everything about me that divides me from others died.
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ like a garment. There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:27-28).
Mind you, it’s not wrong in itself if my favorite color is orange; there’s nothing right or wrong about being Asian or politically moderate. But selfishness makes everything a weapon; self makes everything about me better than everything about you.
Jesus is our peace; in Him God put to death the hostility between people groups (Eph. 2:14-16). When Jesus rose from the dead, everyone in Him rose as one New Man. This Man is Christ; He is the head and we are His body (1 Cor. 12:27). In Him, no one identifies with what they are individually; all are identified by Jesus, just as my whole body is identified by my face.
From now on, then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way.… Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come (2 Cor. 5:16-17).