Is it just me, or is division getting really loud?
People are feeling mis-represented, mis-understood, mis-treated, mis-heard and it’s pushing us apart. I don’t know if we’re more divided than ever, or we’re only just realising how divided we’ve always been. Either way, it’s deafening.
And I realised today that I’m a part of the problem.
Every time I roll my eyes at someone’s perspective because it doesn’t look like mine. Every time I laughingly scroll through the comments on a controversial post. Every time I mentally cancel someone because they post something I don’t agree with.
(I know, I’m really selling myself here, aren’t I?)
Division can be addictive. And I think I’ve figured out why, it’s because it’s easy.
It’s easy to categorise people, to put them into boxes, to instantly define them as:
Good or bad.
Right or wrong.
Left or right.
Us or them.
Thanks to social media, we don’t even have to know them first. It seems division isn’t only easy, it’s time-efficient too. Score.
We can distance ourselves from the people we don’t agree with and surround ourselves with the ones who will back our opinions; this way, we can dodge all of those tricky conversations. As long as we’re always on the right side, we’re good.
See, it’s easier this way. Personally, I seem to have got it down to a fine art recently.
Do you know what takes more time, more patience, more forgiveness, more kindness? Unity. Do you know what looks more like Jesus? Yup, you guessed it – old unity again. One more question, do you know what the world is aching for? Hey, you’re good.
We need each other like we need air, 2020 made me realise that like never before. Division may be the easier option, it may be the initial response, it may be what the world has trained us into thinking is the only way- but do you know what else division is? A disaster.
You see, God’s love spills over every category line, his adoration tears open every box we squeeze people into, his kindness breaks down every barrier we use to try and keep people apart. The more Heaven invades Earth, the more this hurting Earth will begin to feel like family again.
Despite our differences, we belong to each other because we belong to Jesus. The only category He ever puts us in is the ‘loved’ one, and that category is pretty roomy- there’s space for us all. The idea is not that we divide ourselves, but that we get close; close enough to truly hear each other, to truly see each other, to rub off on each other. Knowing that whatever differences we may have, none of it is powerful enough to get in God’s way.
Here’s the thing though, unity is hard. God may have the whole ‘loving everyone’ thing down, but we definitely do not. Scroll through Twitter for twenty-seconds and you’ll have all the evidence you need (I actually don’t have Twitter, but I hear it’s the nastiest place on earth?!). Unity is something we have to fight for every single day, one little battle at a time.
It is learning to listen better and being brave enough to amplify someone else’s voice over your own.
It is asking Jesus to help you see the people you disagree with as he sees them.
It is boldly welcoming the hard conversations.
It is pointing to the ones who aren’t being seen, until the whole world notices them.
It is accepting that you may be a little bit wrong, and they may be a little bit right (and the other way around too)!
Is unity hard? 100% yes. Is it worth it? More than we even realise.