Divisiveness has been around as long as people have been fallen. Nevertheless, different circumstances and stressors make division more pronounced or push us further into it. This past year and a half has been trying for all of us. COVID, economic instability, and ongoing social unrest can make it challenging to get through the day. Through all of this, I have seen people become more black and white, more polarized: about socio-political issues, to be sure, but also theologically. The atmosphere often feels like trench-warfare: people dig in on either side of an issue and shoot at each other across the divide.
The other day I was meditating on all of this when something occurred to me. These unprecedented times are pushing people to reach out for certainty. And it seems that many, including Christians, are finding certainty, but not in Jesus.
Instead of Jesus, we are finding certainty in strong convictions about masks, vaccines, who we should vote for, racial issues, etc. Or we might find security in taking strong stands theologically. Many smelt socio-political views and religious beliefs into an ideological alloy that they weaponize. Affiliation makes no difference. Left, right, conservative, liberal, or denominational ties make no difference. Anyone is vulnerable to this pitfall.
Lord, help us to see that having strong opinions about issues is a counterfeit certainty, and help us find certainty in you.
I also pray that the Lord would help us take a step back from division so we can see the bigger picture. Who benefits from all this division? Not us. Jesus said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is headed for destruction, and no city or house divided against itself will stand” (Matt. 12:25). An “us and them” mentality blinds us to the fact that “us and them” are both marionettes manipulated by the same puppeteer—satan. There are also earthly opportunists—politicians, social movements, and ideologues—ready to exploit the social weakness division creates.
Lord, turn us from the spiritual weakness of division. Help us to gather with you so we aren’t scattered (Matt. 12:30).