As I sit here writing, I gaze across a southwest desert landscape as the sun sets behind my back. It is quiet and a distant mountain range looms above the dry landscape. It is silent except for the occasional call of a quail and the sound of coyotes likely finding a meal. We have a small fire going to keep us company. There is no polarization here and it is quiet as God speaks to us through the moment. God’s creation just breathes in and out serving as the second revelation to all who venture into this wild country. I am at peace with God and His creation and quietly reflect on why there is so much division in our world and in our society.
Currently I am reading Francis Chan’s latest book, Until Unity. I was so impacted by it the first time around that I started reading it a second time and concurrently going through his daily bible reading on the book. The point of the book is the divisiveness that occurs not only in our society but even more so among those in the Christian faith. He rightfully points out that we are most divided faith group on earth. We have thousands of denominations and ministries each believing their theology or methodology is superior. Then we quietly circle the wagons among those we concur with and decide with pride that our way of thinking is right or best and that others are wrong. But is this healthy and even more so is it even biblical? Does God desire for us to pull back and huddle with those we agree with and isolate ourselves in such a way that divides us from others in the Christian faith? Francis believes the answer is no and I concur.
Some of the things that may divide us as people of faith also divide us as a society. One Christian may be a strong proponent of taking care of the environment and may even make his living doing just that. Another Christian may call all environmentalists, liberals, as if it is a sin to care about creation but with no biblical support to indicate there is anything wrong with those principles. In fact, the bible calls us to be good stewards of the environment and after all there are only two ways he reveals himself to us, one being through His creation. How can it possibly be that being a strong advocate for the environment puts us at odds with our Christian faith or even with other Christians? We should all be advocates for the environment provided we don’t put it above the creator.
Other ways we may differ in principle may be by taking care of those less fortunate. I am often guilty of not being sympathetic to those who I feel just are not working hard enough. As an American, the value of hard work is a number one priority for me and there should be no free handouts. On the other hand, what about those who just have not been given the same opportunity? Shouldn’t we show some type of sympathy for those who are less fortunate and where should we draw the line? Regardless of how we come to answer that question, how others view this problem is not necessarily wrong and should not be a cause for division. There is nothing more biblical than taking care of the poor, widowed and orphaned. It’s not a sin to care.
Perhaps nothing is more divisive than our own arrogance, particularly when we believe intellectually that we are superior somehow to others. Either with our theology, our thought process or our political beliefs. No matter how much we may know about the Bible or how much we think we may know about God, have we really stopped to ponder how much we don’t know? God is the creator of the universe and sovereign over all of creation. How can we possibly set ourselves above others by thinking that we know everything there is to know about a God so big?
Francis makes the point that our Savior was crucified to end our divisions, commands us to be united and says we will impact the world when we become one. How the body of Christ unifies makes all the difference in the world in our witness to the world. We can’t just go back among our circled wagons and talk about how deceived our brothers and sisters are in deep criticism and expect others to follow our savior with that as an example.
How should we then unite as a body of Christ not just within our own church but the entire Christian faith? Like most things that involve sins of man, we must put aside our pride and take on humility. Humbly bow before our Creator, putting Him as the focus of our entire being and to love our brothers and sisters as Christ loved us by dying on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins.
Now back to the quiet world of my creator as the sky turns black and the heavens open up for all who are willing to gaze upward at His grandeur. My prayer is that all of us would take the time to let the Lord speak to us in scripture and creation instead of the divisiveness of mankind.
“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought." – 1 Corinthians 1:10