Divisions

Friends Agree To Disagree, So They Can Both Be Right

Ed, my old neighbor in Saskatchewan, has told me often that there is no point in disagreeing with him because only one of us can be correct, and he was convinced that it was him, not me. We all believe that we know best-regarding differences of opinions with others.

I observe that people today are obsessed with creating divisions, squabbles, arguments, dissensions, strife, rancor, antagonism, and hostility. Am I the only one to feel that folks are not happy unless they make sure everyone knows where they stand and are against those who don’t see it their way? In the words of Ed, inflation has gone crazy, people are cranky and complaining about others and everything, and they cannot agree on anything. It’s the new normal.

It’s common in the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible to find people divided. The people of the Bible were often cranky, complaining and struggling over who was right and wrong. People always rebel against the idea that you can have two rights. There’s a need in people to be right and for others to be wrong. Instinctively people feel that there must be divisions between right and wrong, and who is good and evil? Who can you trust, and who isn’t trustworthy? Is there a God, or isn’t there a God overall?

Jesus, as the rabbi from Nazareth, caused people to decide if He was a prophet, the Messiah, or a fraud. In Luke 12: 49-53, Jesus speaks of his approaching baptism of fire. It was a point in His life when He knew that He would soon be a sacrifice in the fire of punishment and guilt for all sin. The water covered him completely when Jesus received his baptism in the Jordan River. Next, on the cross, the fire of judgment and purification would melt his life away in the agony of pain and the abandonment of God to accomplish the salvation of sinners.

As His death on the cross would consume or burn up the power of sin, it also created such a fire that Jesus could not be denied. With a forest fire, there is no denying its presence and power. Even those miles away can smell smoke and see its glow in the night sky. If we face a forest fire at a close range, our powerlessness near it is terrifying.

Jesus came to earth to make peace between sinners and God. He accomplished peace at maximum cost to himself. Yet Jesus brought divisions between people. Jesus is not a little blaze you can put out with a garden hose. Jesus said, “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three.” (Like 12: 51-52)

As Christians who know of Christ’s baptism of fire on the cross for us, there’s the danger that we grow cold in the spirit of Jesus Christ. Do we listen to scoffers who follow their own desires and get ourselves divided from God? God hasn’t called us to be grumblers and faultfinders. He’s ready to set us ablaze in His mercy, peace, and love if we’re willing.

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