United we stand, divided we fall.
I did an online search for the origin of this famous phrase. Some say it dates back to the Greek storyteller Aesop, known for Aesop’s Fables. It gained notoriety during the American Revolution where it was included as part of The Liberty Song by John Dickinson in 1768. We’ve also probably all heard the phrase: “there’s safety in numbers”. And Benjamin Franklin is famously quoted as saying, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
Warning: If you found the first paragraph offensive, this is probably not going to be an article you’ll enjoy reading. I suggest you stop here. Continue at your own risk.
Unity isn’t a new topic. I imagine the desire to live peacefully and get along with those around us, whether at work, school, or home, in our communities, towns, states, even the country and the world is shared by most of us.
If that is true, it begs the question:
Why can’t we get along with one another?
Here’s where I may earn my Kat Controversy label, but I firmly believe powerful entities are on a mission to divide and conquer. Divide and conquer? Yes, keep us divided and battling with each other, while they gain more power and control right under our noses Keep us hypervigilant and focused on our differences so we can never find things in common, never understand one another, never unite. Does that sound like a conspiracy theory? What the last few years have clearly demonstrated is sometimes those theories are simply truths proven with time and exposure.
Let me state openly, I don’t want to believe there are some people who want to see this world end, or at the very least, no longer resemble the version we’ve known and enjoyed. I don’t want to believe an elitist minority wants to reinstate medieval feudal and caste systems where those who aren’t in their inner circle are treated as second class.
But just because we don’t want something to be true, doesn’t mean it isn’t actually true.
You know I brought receipts. (Any and all bible verses, unless otherwise indicated, are from biblegateway.com, NIV, emphasis added.)
People use phrases such as: “it’s biblical” or “that’s bible” to justify many things or situations. Some may wrongly apply them. I’ll let you judge for yourself if what I’ve described above wasn’t literally prophesied through the scriptures.
But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. (Jude 1:17-19)
So, in the latter days, or when this world is nearing its end (spoiler alert: it does have an end coming at some point which only the Lord knows), there will be those who turn away from the teachings of God and will follow their own selfish desires and divide us.
Well, that certainly isn’t happening, is it? None of us can point to a single issue where there isn’t an individual or group behind it driving a story not the story in order to advance an agenda, right? No media outlets are taking up the charge and reinforcing the approved narrative to keep stoking fires of division, separation, and now, sadly, even reinstating segregation in a new and still awful form.
If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. (Mark 3:25)
Anyone who has ever lived with family or shared a home with other people knows this verse is 100% accurate. I vividly remember living in an apartment at a friend’s house. As our relationship began to fall apart, it became increasingly uncomfortable and impossible to live there. I had to move out. The divided house couldn’t stand.
As a Christian, I sincerely believe the bible is the guidebook for life. I believe it contains the writings of those inspired by God to help us navigate this world. I also believe Jesus came to save us and he is the answer: the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Yet this verse, in his own words, always gives me pause. Check this out.
“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, 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 daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:51-53)
But Jesus is love? How can this be?
I’ve come to appreciate that not everyone is able to receive the Truth. In other cases, some may just take longer than others to get there. Everyone’s spiritual journey is personal. For me, this verse means there will be those who accept His love and gift of salvation, and there will be others who do not. I hope those who don’t accept Him right away will at some point. Yet I realize some may never choose to do so. Free will is a beautiful, terrible thing.
I believe this verse speaks to the struggle between those who believe and those who do not. For those who have submitted their lives to the Lord, we are called to deny our flesh, our selfish instincts and impulses, in deference to how God would have us live. We believe and have seen how His ways are ultimately better, even though we may not feel that way in a given moment. But for those who reject Him, they are led by the whims of personal desire. Yes, they may be very smart people. But natural ability, talent, brains, whatever, can only take you so far. And sometimes it can take you to places of compromise and regret.
These next verses speak to achieving peace and unity. See if you can recognize the common threads. Check this out:
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. (1 Corinthians 1:10)
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. (1 Peter 3:8)
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. (Romans 12:16)
What I glean here is three-fold: being like-minded, compassionate, and not prideful. Makes sense if you think about it. And I’m going to leave it there for you to think about.
So, is there hope for common ground in 2023?
I still believe there is if he is the foundation, the rock, the solid ground. Check this out:
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, (Ephesians 2:14)
Earlier we read how Jesus said he’d bring division, yet here it says he is our peace. Can the two things be true? Yes. What I see in this verse is his love can tear down walls, barriers between people. I’ve seen and personally experienced how his love can soften hearts and change minds. I’ve also seen how his love can anger and frustrate those who aren’t ready or prepared to receive it.
I still believe his love is the solution and not the problem. I’ll leave you with this verse:
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)
Until next time: stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know.
Look forward to hearing from you,