Today is July 4th, also known as “Independence Day” in the US. While I would like to speak of the United States today, I think there are some lessons that can be applied to another group called “United” as well.
Undoubtedly, you have often heard the expression, “United we stand, divided we fall.” Many have used variations of this saying to indicate that the nation can only remain strong enough to stand if it sticks together on key points.
Of course, this nation is very much divided today. In fact, it is almost split right down the middle, a fact that became very evident during the 2000 presidential election. Not much has changed since then. Pro-life vs pro-choice, conservative vs liberal, Republican vs Democrat, and so on. The expression about unity and division instead has been replaced with, “It is like there are two Americas.”
I have often written of this polarization of western societies. In either event, I’m afraid, there will be no winner. When selfishness and greed take over, no matter what their forms, the society as a whole will suffer. Both sides have become corrupted and have wandered from their ideals.
That is why Godly love – the outgoing concern for others – is so important. When sacrifice and selflessness are virtues, the entire society wins. When those are replaced by attitudes of victimization and “our rights” then society loses.
Did you realize that the first person recorded saying “United we stand, divided we fall” is Aesop? He is directly attributed this saying as well as have written it in one of his fables. It applies to much more than nations.
Jesus said something very similar.
22And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.
23And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?
24And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
25And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
26And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.
Let me ask you something: If a house divided cannot stand and if a nation divided cannot stand, then can a church?
On this day we in the US celebrate the declaration of independence from England. Our forefathers knew that signing the document, the Declaration of Independence, was like signing their death warrants. They knew that if they lost, they would lose it all. That is why they were very, very careful. They tried in numerous ways to work with England, to get their point across to King George and still maintain their ties to England. However, King George instead thought the hard-fisted approach was more appropriate. The colonies were left with no way out other than to rebel and separate. They knew what they must do.
In 1995, certain facts were made quite evident. A delegation of men was sent to WCG headquarters to try to work out a resolution. A hard-fisted approach was used then as well. The elders in the delegation knew there were no other alternatives. They knew what they must do.
If you are in UCG, then do you really “know” what you must do? Ask yourself if the situation is the same or not. There are a lot of rumors and accusations. Do you really know which are true? I have no trouble with someone standing up to falsehood and evil, but I think it is best to make sure that is really what you are standing up to first.
Let’s assume, just for the sake of argument, that there is a faction in UCG that wants to take over control. Let’s assume they wish to remove opposition. There is a rumor that a specific group wants a “purge” to remove anyone who will oppose them. Will this really achieve their ends? If they purge the opposition (roughly half, it would appear), then the church will obviously be much smaller, and thus their influence lessen considerably (not to mention finances to fund their little adventure).
Does this really make sense? Anyone?
I have a different scenario to propose: Our common enemy seeks to divide and conquer. Satan knows he can mix a certain amount of truth with misinformation and cause all sorts of arguments. He has already caused about 400 divisions within the COG community. Now, he has an opportunity to attack one of the largest groups going, and he doesn’t even have to resort to doctrine this time!
You know, I heard a older but fascinating podcast episode of Focus On the Family the other day. One person said that sometimes people will assign certain promptings as coming from the Holy Spirit that just don’t hold up under scrutiny. If it isn’t Scriptural, then we need to disregard that prompting. The Spirit may speak in a small whisper, but there are many competing voices. We need to ensure we are listening to the correct one.
Do the promptings you pay attention to cause division or unity? What do you plan to do today? Add to the number of splits or try to heal some of the wounds and breach the barriers between all of us?
Have we all collectively and individually really done our own part to really, really ensure that any negative actions we take in regards to a brother or sister are because we are left with no other alternative?
Do you really “know” what you must do? If the answer is “No”, then I suggest it is time to spend more time on your knees.