It’s December, and you know what that means—media outlets are about to start publishing a lot of “Year in Review” pieces.
As I look back over all that’s happened in 2016, what I see is division.
We’ve just endured one of the most contentious presidential elections in recent history, and we’re divided along political lines. As we discuss in this month’s cover story, we’re also divided along racial lines. And sometimes, we’re just divided because of personal offenses—often with other believers.
“I’m seeing Christians say some of the most hurtful things right now, white and black,” notes Will Ford, director of marketplace leadership at the Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas. “And we’re not taking time to respond. We’re reacting to all this junk that’s around us—which is exactly what the devil wants.”
For that to change, believers have to live in a fundamentally different ecosystem than everyone else. Think about that: If we’re just ingesting the same junk as the rest of the world—through media and social media, what have you—it’s inevitable that we’re eventually going to produce the same junk.
These are the days in which we need, more than ever, the wisdom to know how to be “in it and not of it.” What are feeding ourselves? What are we meditating on? What are we allowing to penetrate our hearts and skew our perspectives to something other than God’s?
Anytime God is on the verge of doing something unprecedented and amazing, the enemy comes in to destroy it before it can get off the ground. That’s why we’ve seen an entire generation of children in this nation decimated through abortion—and that’s why we see so much division in the collective Church right now over political, racial and often minor differences in doctrinal emphases. The enemy’s basic strategy has never changed, and can be summed up in three words: Divide and conquer.
A broken net doesn’t hold very many fish. If we hope to contain any kind of harvest of souls, we need strong networks. As the Body of Christ, we’re made to be interdependent upon one another—not independent of each other.
Friends, it’s time to lay aside our offenses and differences with other believers, whatever their source, and come together. I’m not suggesting that’s a simple matter: Some wounds are both deep and ancient, and need to be cleaned out before healing can occur. Nor are we necessarily called to work in close partnership with everyone.
But we do need to recognize our unique gifts and callings—individually and collectively—and get into relationship and partnership with the communities in which God has placed us, and the like-minded groups He brings our way.
So let’s lay down our judgments, put aside our preferences, and be the Body—healthy and functioning at full capacity—by coming together at the Cross.
Originally published in the December 2016 issue of Citizen magazine.