This morning as I was looking on Facebook and seeing all the division, I thought about what Jesus said about a house divided could not stand. I wondered how with all of the division in the church over just this election if this continued how much longer would we be able to stand. My heart felt grieved as I thought about it.
For the past two years our family has felt like it has been wandering around in the desert looking for our place. We’ve drifted in and out of a few churches being triggered by what the pastor said or just feeling like a stranger in a strange land.
If you are a part of a local church and a stranger visits, please reach out. It’ll make a huge difference in whether the visitor comes back or not. It’ll also help the visitor to not to feel like they have three heads or something and that’s why people are avoiding them. Be intentional. Invite a visitor to lunch or for coffee the following week. The visitor is at your church usually there because they want to be a part of your community.
I’ve been reading Jesus Outside the Lines by Scott Sauls, and it’s been like a breath of fresh air during this election season. One of the things I love about this book is, Scott speaks the truth about all of the problems with both political parties, and our tendency in the church to take sides with one side or the other and Christianity becoming more about taking sides than what it’s really supposed to be about – loving one another. Our side taking isn’t helping our cause either. It’s hurting us and causing people to become cynical and turn from the church. Jesus said the world will know that we are Christians by our love not our political stance.
I wondered how in the world are we supposed to be united with so many differences of opinions. And yes both sides have good points. Saving the unborn matters. But so do the oppressed, the crushed and the broken hearted. Black lives matter. Muslim lives matter. Hispanic lives matter. Homosexual lives matter. All lives matter. For God so loved the world. We all matter.
But unity can only come when we are able to join together in the truth.
I spent years of my life in the church living a lie. A lie that my pastor told me could not be revealed because others would not understand. And I believed what he said. But you know what it did? It made me feel more divided from others than I’d ever felt. I could not be honest and therefore I could not have the kind of relationships God called me to have with others. I also could not have any peace with God. I felt separated from others and from God.
After ten years of living this lie, I just couldn’t do it any longer. I had to tell the truth about what had been happening. It was the most difficult thing I’d ever done, but when I did I was finally free from the lie that had been sucking the life out of me.
One of the most confusing things about all of it was that telling the truth caused a lot of division. People did not understand how the pastor and the secretary had been lying to them. They’d been led to believe that things were different than what they actually were. And processing the truth of all of this was incredibly hard and painful.
But then rather than tell the whole truth, the other leaders chose to deal with the exposure by not telling the whole truth. They edited my letter. They withheld the whole truth. And people did what they’d been doing before and just swallowed a lie in order to maintain the stability in the church.
We may find temporary stability by covering up the truth, but it will not stand in the storm. It will be washed away by the circumstances of life. Only a foundation based on the whole truth will stand together.
So what is the one truth that can hold us all together? I believe its the truth that we are all desperately in need of God. We are all sinners in a broken world. We are all called to humble ourselves before the Lord and ask Him to show us what’s really in our hearts. We are called to repent. When we see our own brokenness and are truthful with ourselves with God about it, our souls experience peace and unity with God. And then we are called to go out and pursue that same relationship with others. And that’s where it gets really hard. Speaking the truth with others has been the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Because speaking the truth means I make myself vulnerable to even more pain. It’s much easier to hide and just not say anything, but then the isolation feels like it’s killing me. We are not called to be divided but together. But togetherness only comes through truth. And sometimes this truth will divide before it unites. But truth spoken out of love will eventually unite and come together again. We just have to be patient and wait on God to do His work. We have to keep speaking the truth and being willing to listen to the truth from others. Please stop trying to correct before you’ve heard someone out. And please don’t drown out the voice of the oppressed with cries to save the unborn. Recognize the truth about yourself, the grace that God has given you, embrace the whole truth, and love one another. Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift us up together.
Please dear God, give us the courage to do this.