One of the most obvious effects of the high focus on politics this last year is that people are drawing lines in the sand. Lines in the sand between conservatives and democrats. Lines in the sand over gun control. Lines in the sand over gay marriage. Lines (walls even?) in the sand over immigration. Opinions that we all have the right to hold. The problem isn't in holding to differing opinions. The problem is how we treat people with differing opinions than our own.
The trend I've seen in social media this last year is to find ways to demonize and polarize those with a different opinion than your own. It's not a new trend at all, but its effects are weakening not only our nation, but our churches as well. That's where I come in. I won't speak to politics. My hope doesn't lie there. My hope is in Christ and His Church. So, that's who I'll speak to. What damaging effect might these lines in the sand be having on the Body of Christ?
Drawing lines in the sand is sadly nothing new to the Church. We've been involved in more splits than bananas (you like that one?). Divisions come, but that was never the plan. The plan has always been to be united (John 16:23). United in Christ. United in love. United in love despite our different opinions about who should be president, who should own guns, who should be allowed into the country, who the Antichrist is or was (Do a quick line in the sand check: Did the word "was" upset you?), whether or not we have free will, or whether or not to bake a cake for a gay wedding.
Being human, it's natural that we will hold to different opinions on these and other topics. Our experiences have been different. Our parents are different. Our friends are different. Our interests are different. Our understanding and knowledge of the Scriptures is different. We're at different stages of our journey with Christ. Difference is okay. Division isn't.
Have you drawn any lines in the sand? Are there people you think of as less than human because they hold to a different opinion than you? Do the memes you post on Facebook unite or divide? I believe that the hope we have in posting memes about abortion, gun control, etc. is that we might prove ourselves "right". Well, as someone who did fairly well in Math class, I offer this formula for your consideration. Right - Love = Wrong. Think about that. No matter how right we consider our opinion to be, if we offer it to polarize and demonize our Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we have done wrong. The enemy marks another tick on the wall in victory. We are unbelievably strong when united (the gates of Hades will not overcome us!), but so weak when divided. The gruesome picture that we can draw from Paul's analogy of the Body of Christ is that of a body so divided that its arms and legs are detached and organs ripped out. That Body can't function as it should. That Body is weak.
It's time to consider whether we want to be "right", but greatly divided or be a witness to the world that the love of the Spirit has the power to unite people even of diverse opinions. It won't be easy. It will require a greater devotion to love people than to love a particular political party. No, really. I'm not kidding. It will even require that. Love is worth it. Unity in the Body of Christ is worth it. God's glory is worth it. Well, that's my opinion, anyway.
Dave became the Senior Pastor in April 2015 at TCC after serving as the Director of Children's and Praise Ministries for 9 years. He graduated in 2011 from A.W. Tozer Seminary with a Masters in Christian Leadership. He and his wife, Katie, live in Sequim with their 6 children, 2 dogs, 15 chickens, and 50,000 honeybees.
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