Phewww! – The Great Divide

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Well, it’s Wednesday morning, or maybe afternoon, if you stayed up to watch the election results. Do we even know who won yet? Regardless of the outcome, today is Nov. 4, and tomorrow will be Nov. 5. The sun will come up, and our lives will go on. We still have opportunities to live our lives for Jesus and to promote his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. In his first pastoral letter, the apostle Peter has great advice for us, which notably is not dependent on our circumstances. And, as difficult as this advice may be to follow, it fits into Jesus’ command for us to love one another as he loved us, even Judas, the traitor who’s feet he washed!

1 Peter 3:8-9
8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

We have all spent the past months letting outside influencers tell us how to think and feel about one side or the other of the great divide—be it political, racial, spiritual, to mask or not to mask, etc. As Christ followers, we are called to be like-minded, united in our love for Christ and for each other. This we hold in our closed hand. While others are blaming, bullying, name-calling, and bashing in general, we are called to love one another, not to “repay evil with evil or insult with insult.” We are to “repay evil with blessing.” Why? So we can inherit a blessing! Peter goes on to quote a part of Psalm 34.

1 Peter 3:10-12
10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

My favorite part is verse 11: “They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.” In her book, The Space Between Us, Sarah Bauer Anderson tells us to be aware of how we contribute to polarization. Each of us has our own bias, based on our knowledge and experience. None of us has the whole truth of the matter. Most of us receive our information from the same or similar news sources, which have their own biases.

Often, we lack personal knowledge of the people with whom we differ. If you find yourself saying, “I just don’t know how they could think that way,” you have admitted there is something you don’t know! Become curious! Ask questions! Allow them space and hospitality to express their thoughts to you.

If you find yourself engaged in a conversation with someone whose opinion is diametrically opposite of yours, show them grace. Listen to their point of view. Allow them space to express themselves. Your grace will often be rewarded with a show of kindness and appreciation that leads to more and better conversations about what matters most:  salvation through and life with Christ.

We must seek peace, seek to understand, give grace, and invite grace. “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer.”

Four years from now, God willing, we will be looking at the results of another presidential election. In the days and months to come, we will have many opportunities to influence our communities with the love of Jesus. As individuals in our local churches, the hope of the world, we are called to make it our mission to follow Peter’s admonition.

It starts with me, the only person in the whole world over whom I have any control.

It starts with you, today. Seek peace and pursue it!

How do you talk to those with whom you disagree? Are you “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” (James 1:19)? Do you ask questions, seeking to understand the other’s point of view?

Next Steps:
The apostle Paul says in Romans 12:18, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” The next time you have a conversation with someone who has different views than you, pray and invite the Lord into it before offering your own opinions.

Be curious. Ask questions. Listen. Find your common ground and celebrate that unity instead of focusing on your differences.

Father, I thank you for your grace and mercy. I thank you that you first loved us and set the example for how we should love and serve each other. Help us keep our tongues from evil and our lips from deceitful speech. Help us to love each other, to seek peace, and to pursue it. Let your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven, and let it begin with me. In Jesus’ powerful name, amen.

>This post was written by Lauri White. Lauri is one of the 25 people that God used to start CedarCreek in the Fall of 1995, and was on staff until 2013. Lauri loves Jesus, and loves helping people, especially women, live out of the truth about who we are in Christ. She and her husband Mike live in Oregon, but now spend winter months in Florida near daughter Kelda and her family.

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2 replies
  1. Julie Estep
    Julie Estep says:

    God is nudging me to reach out to my niece this week. She’s been on my mind; on my heart. I’m avoiding it because she stirs up drama, and uses social media to air her grievances. Well, if God leads me to it, God will lead me through it. Right?!

  2. Luke Shortridge
    Luke Shortridge says:

    The sun came up and we’re still alive (although slightly confused)! I actually quoted Romans 12:18 in a work meeting yesterday…thinking about what our posture SHOULD be. How do we live as peacemakers in a world that is divided, grabbing for power, and shouting at the top of their lungs? Well… there is probably very little we can do on our own. We are fragile jars of clay that contain a great treasure. Seeking to live in such a way that people see the love of Jesus in me and are less repulsed by me! Thanks Lauri!

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