Steve Schappell-My Blog

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Divided We Fall (Part 2 of 2)

On my last post, we learned about Unity. Unity in the Body and ways that we can Stand United. Today, let's look what happens when Divided We Fall.
The country today is a mess. There is more division now than every before. Just look at the political landscape. The Facebook posts. It always seems like it is one thing vs. another. And, as Christians, we don't know where to stand, or what to do. Part of the problem lies with us.
It has been said that Christians are the only ones who bury their wounded. We are more judgmental on each other than those in the world. Instead of working for Unity in the Body, we are dividing each other. No wonder there is a rise of the “Nones.” Young adults and others who claim “none” as their religious affiliation. What we we and the church have to offer? Are we inclusive, and open our churches up to all kinds of people, or are we exclusive, catering only to our own? I believe, this is part of the reason for the division.
In1858, Abraham Lincoln gave his “House Divided” speech at was then the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, upon accepting the Illinois Republican Party's nomination as that state's United States Senator. His remarks created an image of the danger of slavery-based disunion, and became a rallying cry for Republicans across the North.
The best known passage of the speech is: A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
Lincoln felt that if his Republican Party could be unified toward the cause of ending slavery—working together to achieve the same ends—that they would prevail. Of course, it was not easy, and after a long Civil War between the states, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves.
A house divided against itself cannot stand. The church divided against itself will fall. We are seeing evidence of this today. The division in the church is causing separation. The traditional church model, in some cases, are causing churches to close, and others to re-think their strategies.
Jesus also had something to say about this in Matthew 12:25-28.
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
That is a powerful passage, and stands true today. There have been powerful nations that were divided against itself and fell. There are households divided against each other today for political, moral, or religious reasons. We are all sinners, and fall short every day. We need the Grace the God provides.
Where then, do we start to stop the division. I believe it starts with each one of us. We begin by being intentional about our faith and ways to live it out. To help others, to encourage them, and to pray for them. Then collectively, if we each work on this, we can begin to strengthen our church by being more inclusive—accepting others for who and where they are right now. The church can then reach out to the community that they live in, and show the Love of Christ by acts of service—with no ulterior motive. Doing it for service to God for the Grace that he gives us. That we can share some of that abundant live that Jesus gives us with others.
But what about our Country? I wanted to close with a passage from 2 Chronicles 7:14. I believe, this is key for Christians to do, no matter what the circumstances look like.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

And that is us. As Christians, we are his people. We can fall on our knees and pray. Pray for this country and stand United. Praying that God hears from us, and helps to heal this great land of ours.

-Dear Lord, I pray that you would help us to heal the divisions in our home life, at work, and at church. That we would be a people God, that would show your love to a lost and dying world, by our acts of service and Love for others. Everyone is our neighbor Lord, and we need each other. Father, we pray for this land of ours. We pray that we would turn away from worthless idols, and turn back to you. Lord, heal this land. Heal our hearts and minds, that we may be able to do your will. In Jesus name, Amen.

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