A People Divided
Politics in America has divided the country these past several years and it came to a head this past election in the U.S. as political parties have attacked each other venomously. Of course, it is par for the course for anything involving politics, but it is just one of the reasons people use to divide themselves from others.
There are Christians in both political parties and I have heard many Christians cite the immorality of the other party, each claiming the other is wrong and each thinking that God sides with them and not the other. Each group cares only about being right and winning.
Division has gone on since the beginning, whether political or not. The division between the races, between religions, between class...people divide each other on so many different levels.
People of the world are different and cover the spectrum of human possibility. The way we think and live can be vastly different from how others think and live, but that is the beauty of humanity. Each of us has our own gifts, talents, experiences and perspectives and each of our personal journeys has taken us to different places in our lives. Like flowers of different varieties and colors, we are all beautiful in our own ways and have something to contribute.
But many people don't see it that way.
They find diversity unsettling and difference threatening.
Though we will deny it publicly, we all have people that we lump into groups, have negative feelings about, distrust and are afraid of.
So many people cannot stand those who are different and so will discriminate, judge, feel superior than, condemn, fight and war on others over race, beliefs, religion, gender, sexual orientation, lifestyle, wealth, class, age, disability, intelligence, appearance, occupations, where you live, country of origin or whatever ridiculous reasons they perceive that differentiates them from others.
Humans have proven themselves to be VERY petty.
The world has provoked each of us to sin. To turn our hearts to despise those who are not like us. To hate our neighbors. To hate each other.
And much evil has come out of our hearts, all contrary to the commandments of Jesus.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." - Mark 12:30-31
We have only to look inside and see the ugliness that has been coming out from us. We must turn away from the devil, who is ecstatic that he got us all to loathe and hate each other for one reason or another. It amazes me that there are actually Christians who really believe that God loves only them and looks down on those who disagree with them, gleefully pronouncing that God will send them to hell.
First to say, God loves everyone and hates NO ONE. God created every person in the world with love and affection and desires all to be saved. He gave each of us free will to choose our own path in our journey to Him and is saddened about those who don't choose Him.
Jesus has only love and compassion for the people of the world.
When He saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. - Matthew 9:36
And who is harassing us? We are. We are harassing each other.
It is because of God's love for humankind that Jesus came and died on the cross for us...for ALL of us. God sent His Son so humanity could live and have relationship with Him and each other.
God does not side with any political party, race or group of people over another. We are the ones who choose to separate from each other and God.
As Christians, there is no excuse for us to hate anyone.
"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, 'Raca', is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell." - Matthew 5:21-22
Our life on earth is exactly that: EARTHLY. But Jesus asks His people to live as heavenly people, leading others to Him with His love.
Politics involve earthly matters. People are concerned with earthly matters and make choices that affect them personally…on this earth.
While people have taken this fight over the election for the soul of America, God is concerned with our inner soul and this election has released our true colors from the depth of our inner soul.
Did any of us wish that the politicians of the other party should get sick of Covid-19 or die? Do any of us judge our friends, relatives, brothers and sisters for the political party they are aligned with? Do any of us judge and condemn the cities and states that voted for the other guy and pray that God would destroy them? Do we really believe that God only agrees with us and opposes all others? And how much does this way of thinking permeate into everything else in our life?
Christians say that God hates the world because it is sinful, so they think it's ok to hate the people in the world whom they view as sinful.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.” – 1 John 2:15.
And yes, the world belongs to the devil.
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” – 1 John 5:19.
"See! God does hate the world!"
But actually God hates the WAYS OF THE WORLD and how it leads people away from Him, but HE LOVES THE PEOPLE IN IT.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. ”
The devil teaches people that the way to get ahead in this world is by any means possible including lying, manipulation, false accusation, taking advantage, cheating and stealing. Yet, so many Christians will follow this same path when they allow the devil in and make excuses for their sin.
Just the idea of wanting to get our way in this world reveals just how earthly we are and away from heavenly things. Yet the earth is not our true home. We are to live separate from the world, but here we are trying to get our share and control it.
As Christians, we must constantly beware of being swayed and influenced (even by our own churches) lest we become a part of the very system we are against. Our war is not an earthly war against the people of the world, but a spiritual war within ourselves to be more like Christ. It is in this way, that the world is changed, when we live as Jesus, bringing God's light into the world.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places." -Ephesians 6:12
God loves everyone, including the people we hate.
Each of us is on our own path to maturity. Some of us struggle to keep up and some of us are lost in the woods, but God gives each of us a chance to find Him. He gives us time and opportunities to learn, grow, repent and change.
God gives grace to all people, including sinners, because He loves everyone.
"You see, at just the right time, when were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:6-8
We all have reasons to hate those who we believe are our opposites, but God loves everyone in the world because He wants everyone to be saved. He desires that everyone change course and come to Him. But He doesn't hate those who are not there yet. He has HOPE.
So yes, we too can hate the world for how it influences and teaches people with its prejudice, materialism, distraction, greed, arrogance, abuse, selfishness, exploitation and violence, but we love the people in it. We love them because God loves them and desires us, His servants, to bring the Good News of Jesus' salvation to them.
He created each us with great love and though many of us have gone astray like the prodigal son, He still loves us and has hope that one day, each and every one of us will come back to Him.
And despite the evil that can pour out of all of us, (yes we as Christians are quite capable of doing evil) Jesus continues to grant us grace and forgiveness if we humble ourselves, confess and change direction.
Jesus came to save all people, including the people we hate. If He can have patience, understanding and forgiveness for them, (just as He had patience and forgiveness for us) then we must also have love and patience for each other.
We are not that different from each other and we need to start understanding that the reason Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves is because He wants to bring us together, to be ONE in Him.
"Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another." - Ephesians 4: 25
All we have ever done in this earthly life is try to get ahead, separate, discriminate, band together and form groups to find reasons to bully and make rules to kick others out to dominate those who are different from us.
Sounds like the devil's work to me.
But Jesus seeks to gather us together to Himself as one people under His Grace.
"...how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing." - Matthew 23: 37b
Follow Jesus and His way of love.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:43-45a
Turn away from the ways of the devil and return to the God of love, forgiveness, understanding and compassion. Love God, love your neighbor.
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