Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Overcoming Division

What in the world is happening? As I drive past flags flying at half-staff, I try to remember why. Was it the massacre in Orlando? Since then, we have cringed as story after story reminds us of the brokenness of this world: Minneapolis, Baton Rouge, Nice, Dallas, Baton Rouge. When is the flag ever flying high any more?

Pundits and politicians seize on every new story to advance some political agenda. They try to manipulate public opinion for the sake of votes and power. They sow seeds of division to advance their side. The more one side fights, the more the other side responds in kind. People are labeled, defamed, ambushed, and murdered.

The masses want to fight fire with fire. Rhetoric ratchets up. People stop listening and dismiss everything they hear from those people in that camp. They stop thinking for themselves and listen to the loudest voices on their "side." These voices stir up hate and suspicion, calling out the worst in human nature. Clearly this pattern makes our problems worse.

This is an opportunity for the church to stand up and call people to conversation on a higher plane. We are all broken. My perspective is not the only perspective. It's not even the right perspective. No one but God has the right perspective.

Christ calls us to this kind of humility at the cross. We are broken. We need redemption from our
sinful natures. Jesus paid the price for this redemption on the cross, giving his life as a sacrifice to atone for our sins. This is good news, but it can only be received with humility, admitting that we need a Savior.

Everyone around us is broken, too. No wonder we don't trust people. No wonder people hurt others. No wonder people find groups of others to hate. No wonder crime escalates.

There is no law, no politician, no policy that can diffuse the hate and fear of the human heart. Only Jesus can do this.

That's why the church needs to stand up and stand together, across those barriers that divide us. Jesus has broken down the wall of hostility between people who are different. (Ephesians 2:11-22) Only Jesus can change the heart. He does that every day as people surrender to him.

We can't put our hope in politics. We need good government, but government can't give me the right perspective. Only God can do that.

Let's rise above the name calling and division. Jesus calls us together. He calls us to repent. He calls us to love. And he changes our hearts so that we can.