Division and Rage
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | RSS
Division and rage are as old as the Bible. Division was ushered in with the original sin of Adam and Eve. It caused a fracture in the relationship between God and man. Following on the heels of division, rage showed up when Cane killed Abel. Division and rage have continued to plague mankind throughout human history. We have seen its stark reality in the streets of America and around the world in these past few weeks. What can you and I do to bring about lasting change? I invite you to read more.
I am as frustrated as everyone else is about what is going on in our country. The death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests and riots have flooded my heart and mind with a myriad of sometimes conflicting thoughts and emotions. I suspect the same is true for each of you. I wanted to write something today that could contribute to the healing that is desperately needed, but I struggled to know where to start.
I didn’t know where to start because we can’t even agree as to what the problem is. Were these protests and riots over a race issue, were they caused by pent-up frustration from the pandemic, were these anarchists trying to overthrow the rule of law or was this a political protest. What do you believe?
The one commonality I found with all the possibilities mentioned was division and rage. We find division in politics, between countries, between races, between and within religious groups, between ideologies, between friends, between spouses and within families. Far too often, the division leads to rage.
What lies behind this division and rage? The simple answer is sin. Sin caused our fracture with God and it continues to fracture mankind. I turned to the Bible for guidance and inspiration.
James 4:1-12 addresses the cause of conflict and division. It says we fight, covet, kill, and go to war with one another out of a lack of humility.
James 4:11 tells us, “Do not speak evil of one another.” Wow just turn on the evening news and you will see that we have thrown that admonition out the window.
Ephesians 4:1-2 urges us to live in a manner worthy of our Christian calling with humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love. I haven’t seen much of this lately, have you?
Ephesians 4:25-32 offers us this wisdom and guidance:
- Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun set on your anger.
- Do not leave room in your life for the devil.
- No foul language should come out of your mouths.
- All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice.
- Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:25-26 reminds us that we all make up one body and it goes on to say, “if one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.” Have we failed to understand that humanity is tied together as one? We are suffering from the self-inflicted wounds of division.
Jesus tells us in Mark 3:25, “if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” Pope Francis said it this way, “we know that the father of lies prefers people who are divided and quarreling to people who have learned to work together.” In Matthew 5:44 Jesus tells us, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Here is the bottom line. Satan loves division. Division leads to anger. Anger turns to rage. Rage leads to violence. And violence never solves any problem.
All too often when we decide to work to bring about change, we attack the problem at the macro level. We say things like, “What are WE going to do to fix this.” We often have the misguided perception that a change in politicians will fix the problem. As Christians we need to follow the leadership of Jesus. He changed the lives of people one person at a time. True change occurs when we look inside and ask these questions, “How am I contributing to this problem,” and “What do I need to change in me?” Societal problems are almost never a WE ISSUE; they originate as a ME ISSUE.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn says it this way, “If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
Maybe he unknowingly discovered the solution. Maybe we all need to destroy the evil part of our own heart, or at the very least allow our Lord to perform heart surgery on us.
We must always remember Jesus was born into the world as the Prince of Peace. My message today was not intended to offer solutions. I have attempted to leave us all with some important things to ponder. Finally, keep in mind, “Rage only begets more rage!”
Heavenly Father, root out any part of my heart that is not pleasing to you. Help me to always approach those with whom I disagree with Christ like love. Amen.
As always, I love to read your comments below as well as hear from you personally by clicking here.
- Cave Dwelling - March 26, 2023
- Jesus Embraced His Cross—Will We Embrace Ours? - March 22, 2023
- Universal Inheritance - March 22, 2023
What do I believe? Jim used the word “wholeheartedly.” No one who lives and loves wholeheartedly would ever commit the offenses mentioned in your third paragraph, Brian. It’s a simple guide to peace. Yet so difficult.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.
Though I wholeheartedly agree that each of us must seek to change our hearts individually, I have to take issue with how you frame the problem here. This is more than individual sin. Systemic racism is a social sin. Our society as a whole allows racist structures and policies to continue unabated despite our lip service to justice and peace. So I agree that each of us must seek to become less racist individually, but as I see it, we are all called collectively to root out the sin of racism at the societal level as well. That means working to eradicate unjust structures, working to implement policies and practices that are more just, holding candidates for public office accountable for more just positions and action, etc. If we fail to do that, we are guilty of sin as I see it- a social sin of omission. Thanks for helping me to think. God Bless you and your work, Jim
It is always great to hear your thoughts and views. Thanks for posting. My simple formula for these types of issues is this. First we look INWARD. We do our self examination to see what we need to change. Second we look UPWARD. We seek God’s mercy and forgiveness on our own shortcomings. It is only after doing steps one and two that we take step three which is GO OUTWARD. I agree with your points, but I wanted to encourage each Christian to start with changes at home first. We all need to take the plank out of our own eye before trying to take the sliver out of someone else’s
Brian, I believe you are right in that true humility by God’s grace is the way. This allows each of us to see other points of view, which isn’t happening now. Jim’s response is an example of this. Many of us don’t believe that systemic racism abounds in todays society, but sadly none of us can talk about these issues without being branded and stereotyped. Thanks for sharing your God given grace with us.
Thanks for your post. I really appreciate your brave response. Like I said in today’s message, it hard to address the problem when we cannot even agree on what the problem. I know you well and I know Jim well. I feel certain that you two could sit together and have a calm Christ like conversation even with divergent points of view. Sadly most people don’t. We seem to live in a day when he who shouts the loudest wins the day. I know you both and I know that you and Jim both have a heart for Christ. That is the best place for good dialog to start. As I said in my reply to Jim, we need to first look INWARD, then look upward in prayer before we ever go outward to change the world.
May God bless us all and have mercy on our shortcomings!
Thank you, Brian for your comments. I have been struggling with a response and then I read Jim’s comments. Thank you, Jim for your response I have been trying to formulate my words and there you said it better then I could ever say it. I agree with every word you wrote. Thank you for hearing my heart and soul and putting it into words. Carmen
Your letter today hits right to the heart of the matter. I’ve just been re-reading “Conversations With God” Book 2 by Neale Donald Walsch where God says the only way to save humanity is a collective shift of consciousness. “You must stop seeing God as separate from you, and you as separate from each other.” We truly are one and perhaps there will be a silver lining to all this chaos where we will all come together as God’s children and start acting that way. We can all sing the song “Let There be Peace on Earth” and let it begin with each of us and then do it.
It is always great to hear from you. Thank you for posting and sharing your thoughts. I hope you are well.
You are so right. All we need is a love, if we had that the world would be a better place. God made us equal, we all came from the same lord.
Great point. Thanks for sharing.
Brian …you surely hit home with this segment…thanks for being here for all of us…God Bless!
Thank you for your kind words. I am always blessed to know God touches people through these messages.
Inner work is not easy but with Christ I can face the demons within myself.
Let’s us all pray for one another that we may merrily meet in heaven.
Thanks for your post!
Healing can only begin by examiningour own hearts
Following scriptural teaching and letting the Holy
Spirit conform us to our Savior’s image
AMEN! You are so right. Thank you for your post.