Division. It seems to be hitting us on every level; national, regional, and individual. It has the potential to steal what is precious to us if we yield to it. Division can separate us from those we love the most; it can take down cities, corporations and nations if left unchecked. There are a few things I wish I’d known sooner in life about division that could have saved a lot of heartache:
- My enemy is THE enemy, not you. The Bible says in Ephesians 6:12, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Satan doesn’t really care who you’re divided against, as long as there’s division. Why would he want to stir up division? Because he knows that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” His objective is to lie, steal and destroy, and division is an effective way to accomplish all three.
- Division results in disconnection, and disconnection opens the door to pain in our lives. According to Research Professor Dr. Brene’ Brown, “Connection is why we’re here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.” (Pg 8, Daring Greatly) When we feel a great divide between ourselves and another person or group, a good question to ask is, “What connection does the enemy want to steal from me?”
- It is possible to fight for a worthy cause, but to do it with wrong attitudes. When we see ourselves or others fighting for truth, justice, or anything good, but recognize wrong attitudes, it can be extremely confusing. A good question to ask ourselves when we find ourselves in the midst of division is: “Am I dealing with pride? Is my perspective of those I feel divided against tainted with judgments rooted in criticism, self-righteousness or pride? Am I motivated by love, or by fear? In my experience with division, I have found that one “side” is rarely 100% right and the other 100% wrong. I have found myself and others on both sides of issues often to have a mix of right and wrong attitudes. I’ve found it helpful to ask the Lord to reveal my own heart to me. David did this when he prayed, “Who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults.” (Psalm 19:12)
- Rejection and division often work hand-in-hand. This is where it is wise to remember your history with people. Choose to remember the times that they have been there for you. Ask yourself: “Is this rejection I’m feeling from this person or group a long-standing pattern? Or is this something new?” The enemy would love to steal the harvest of our lives…the years of faithful devotion we’ve had to one another. Let’s muster the courage to press in and fight for the precious relationships that we’ve invested years in cultivating. Don’t give up on each other without a fight. We do this by leaning in to the uncomfortable conversations. Let’s put it on the table when we feel disconnection creeping in.
- Forgiveness is not optional if we are to walk in unity and spiritual freedom.
- When we pray for “our enemies,” our perspective will often change. Praying to be unified in truth and in love can be a very strategic spiritual weapon against the evil one.
- Venting to others who are not part of the problem or the solution just fuels anger and division.
The bottom line is, not of us win when division is given the freedom to rule the day. This year’s National Day of Prayer is coming up tomorrow, May 4th. One of the main objectives of this year’s day of prayer is to pray for unity as a nation. Many communities offer prayer breakfasts or other events. If you are interested in joining a day of prayer event in your area, you can find information at http://www.nationaldayofprayer.org Hope to see you there!