Similarly, a family splintered by feuding will fall apart.Mark 3:25 (NLT)
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” A young, up and coming politician uttered these words in 1858 as he ran for Senator of the great state of Illinois. It was a radical concept, as the USA was beginning to fracture along political, social, cultural, and economic lines. There were those entrenched in their beliefs on the left, and those digging in for their beliefs on the right. Neither side was willing to fully compromise, or shut up, in order to maintain any sense of peace. These words, spoken by Abraham Lincoln, fell upon deaf ears.
The arguments from both sides became increasingly fierce. What started as a somewhat civil conversation became a ferocious debate throughout the United States. In fact, the arguments got so provocative that often times fist fights broke out, and in one particular instance, one congressman beat another one with his cane during a session of congress.
As a result, the house did become divided. Only a couple of short years later, the first shots of the American Civil War were fired. Blood was shed. There was no turning back.
Within our churches, Satan can, and does, work hard to create a divided house. Everyone staff, students, volunteers, community members, all come with their own worldview, upbringing, and lens through which they view things. While this diversity of viewpoints can be very advantageous, because we can learn from one another, they can also be used by the enemy to stir up dissent, malice, and just plain callousness. Because someone believes differently, or sees things differently, does not make them evil. Yet, Satan often times can cause us to think, say, and do things that make others feel otherwise. Pointing fingers is a ploy of Satan, not God.
We must take the teachings of Jesus to heart (not just today’s, but all of it). As He states in our verse today, “a family splintered by feuding will fall apart.”
It is clear that our calling is to love, show grace, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, and to marinate on the good news of Jesus. May we today, and every day, focus on doing these things well and leave the petty arguments out of our church family. We must stand firm in our calling and not be distracted from the work we have been entrusted with.