He Came to Divide, and I Give Thanks
by Joseph Franks
In the United States of America, an incredibly contentious and bitter election has come to a close. For more than two years we went at it, and when it seemed we could not get any lower, we found ways to make our bantering more despicable. The candidates, their parties, and their platforms were polarizing and demeaning. Political parties were divided. Our nation showed its lack of unity. Differing church members struggled to worship and fellowship one with another. Friends accosted friends on social networking sights, and division was experienced within individual families.
As a result of the outcome, some have found themselves surprised and radically optimistic. To them the future looks very bright.
Many, including this author, are more cautiously optimistic. We pray America, our family, our neighbors, all our fellow citizens, and even our world might be graced by God and improved by this new regime.
And yes, there are many who are very mournful at the results. They see an end to progress. They see America now heading in the wrong direction, and they are sure our worst days are right around the corner.
However, this I know — all of us are glad the conflicted campaigning season is over. All of us who endured the process, regardless of our political sides, have found ourselves weary from battle. We just want some peace, and we are all tempted to do anything that gives us a sense of unity and harmony. Can’t we just get along — at least for a few months?
But friends, I hate to burst your bubble, but this is an impossible expectation. Political peace cannot be experienced by passionate people, some of whom demand:
- A smaller, more local, and less legislative government … while others promote a federal nanny state.
- Fair and firm immigration laws … while others prefer open borders and sanctuary cities.
- Protection for the life of unborn children … while others wish to safeguard the right of mothers and doctors to terminate not yet delivered babies.
- Personal freedoms protected in church and business … while others wish to force all to except unethical alternative lifestyles.
- Increased personal liberty in stewarding their own personal wealth … while others wish to increase entitlements.
- The upholding of American independence and sovereignty … while others wish to submit our freedoms and soldiers to the whims of the United Nations.
- Conservative judges who uphold the Constitution and refuse to write law … while others prefer activist legislators dressed in black robes behind the bar.
Oh, I would love to have a unified country. It would be fantastic if Republicans and Democrats could just get along. How much fun it would be to see Mr. Trump and Mrs. Pelosi be polite, dignified, and friendly. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if all politicians and Americans could together write wise legislation, maintain equity and justice, and safeguard personal freedoms? Then we could all get together, form a circle, hold hands, and sing We are the World followed by Kum By Yah? But friends, this is not going to happen. This is an unrealistic expectation. There are just too many passionate people with too much at stake. Mr. Obama did not come to unify, but to win, and the same is true for Mr. Trump.
Not only is this an unrealistic expectation in the political arena, this is an unrealistic expectation in the spiritual sector as well. Consider the inspired prophecy and the realistic expectation of Jesus:
I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. (Luke 12:49-53)
Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He is full of love, and he offers mercy and grace to all. Anyone who wishes to join his team and submit to his rule and reign is encouraged and welcome to come near. His tent is large. His table is huge. He desires for none to perish. He invites all to his coalition, and he turns no one away.
However, do not confuse the gracious offer of love from Jesus with a flexible willingness of Jesus to compromise in any way. And do not confuse the future reality that “all may be one” with a present day unrealistic thought that “all can be one.” No, Jesus is the Prince of Peace hated, rejected, and opposed by many. This is his expectation. This is his prophecy. This is reality.
But friends, this is really good news. The Prince of Peace came to divide, and for this we can give thanks.
Though some in our culture have mocked and neglected the Prince of Peace, some of us have been divided from them and made participants in the peace that passes all understanding.
Though some of our fathers and ancestors have rebelled and rejected the Gospel, some of us have been divided and adopted into God’s family.
Though some in our current household are sadly and woefully not interested in Jesus and his Gospel promise, some of us have been divided and convinced to bow the knee and kiss the Son.
Though some are going to be justly baptized with Jesus’ fire of judgment, some of us have had Jesus baptized with fire on our behalf and instead we are baptized with Holy Spirit fire.
Though Jesus is the Prince of Peace, he came not to compromise and make peace between himself and Lucifer. No he came to war, to win, and to dominate. The Son of God came to rescue hell-bound sons of Satan, to divide them from Satan’s goats, and transform them into glory-bound sons of God. Jesus came to do that which he promised to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. While 100% of men and women were allied with Lucifer, Jesus promised t0 divide from Satan a redeemed seed who would be saved from his oppressive rule.
Therefore, I will say it again: the Prince of Peace came to divide, and for this we can give thanks. We can praise him for not negotiating. We can praise him for conquering and not compromising. We can praise him for total victory We can praise him for the great, big, impregnable wall he builds between Satan and ourselves. Jesus came to love. Jesus came to grant peace. Jesus came to conquer and divide, and for this we will be eternally grateful.