You may have noticed that we’re living in divided times. It’s deeply concerning to say the least. Collectively as a nation, we struggle to find anything redeemable in those who don’t share our views. Instead, we blame and we demonize.
Jesus understood this dynamic well. In fact, there was a time when he was literally demonized. In Matthew 12, the Pharisees say he’s working in league with Satan. And Jesus basically says, “That’s odd. If I’m working with Satan, why would I be casting out demons? After all, a kingdom divided cannot stand.” I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the gist.
Jesus is smart (pause for that ridiculous understatement to sink in). A divided kingdom or nation cannot stand. Neither can a divided church.
In a climate that is becomming increasingly bent on division, we have to be united as the church. But how?
In essence, it’s understanding that love and agreement are not mutually exclusive.
Think about how few people Jesus would have agreed with. Seriously, consider for a moment that almost everyone who spoke to Jesus would have said something that he would have known was wrong. Even John the Baptist, the prophet chosen by God to prepare the way for Jesus, got off track in his thinking at one point.
And yet…Jesus loved.
When the doors open and the church returns to in-person gatherings, know that you will be sitting near people who vote differently than you. Know that you will be sitting near people who have opinions on major social issues that don’t line up exactly with yours. And know that Jesus has invited those people to sit at the same table as you, invited to take part in the same kingdom and receiving the same inheritance of God’s love and glory.
If we require agreement to love, we don’t love like Jesus. If you only love the people who agree with you, you only really love yourself.