Some days I dance around this place I call home confident in people, and other days I am completely overwhelmed with the brokenness I see. Seeing the divisiveness in our country, the Facebook posts, the fighting, and the complete disunity of it all breaks my heart.
I see it not just on the news, but in my school and, what’s worse, in my church. Is this what Jesus bled for? A bride not only terribly frightened, but in complete disunity? Differing opinions are not only good, they are essential. They keep us in constant check, forcing us to ask ourselves: Are my views based on truth? How do I back my views up? How do my views line up with the Bible?
Diversity puts God’s intricate creation on display; the beauty of a thousand shades of skin colors, the taste of countless cultures and foods. Even the millions of different directions that the tongue can take to produce a different sound with a different meaning with each new combination. Diversity makes life vivacious and interesting. He gave us different personalities and different ways of thinking, and we are constantly checking each other. Its own system of checks and balances, diversity splashes insight where there is a serious lack, and, like all good things, the Lord breathed it into every detail of his creation. Although the Lord fashioned diversity to be something beautiful, something like the splashes of color melting into the sky at dusk, the enemy often tries to pervert it.
This is what we see in the Facebook posts. Diversity, in its perverted form, is no longer complimentary and balancing, but it is polarizing. It is a wall, it is a thick, dark line that separates two humans. Is everyone right? No. That would mean that there is no truth. Not everyone is right. Does everyone think they are right? Probably. As Christians, where do we go to as the ultimate source of truth? We go to the Bible.
The trouble comes with this: the gray. What about the issues that don’t pop out at us in bold font as we read the Bible? We read, and we have our own opinions of which way the Bible says to swing on certain political issues. We clash. We don’t all read the same meanings between the lines. Then, we post about it on Facebook, declaring that you can’t call yourself a Christian if you believe this way, or you can’t truly be saved if you voted for this person. If you don’t vote you are not a Christian, if you do vote but it is for said evil candidate then you are not a Christian, and if you don’t have a side you are simply irresponsible and a poor citizen of the United States. Where is the grace? What part of the Bible says, “For it is by voting for this political candidate that you have been saved?” No, we have a Savior who is bigger than that. His plan is overarching and his grace is never ending.
He gave us government because of the fall, because we didn’t trust him to rule over us and we demanded a human ruler. Government is certainly not perfect, this we all know. People are complex, issues are complex, and it is honestly a struggle to determine what viewpoints line up the most with the Bible. The good news is, we do not serve a God obsessed with government. He stands far beyond its reaches, far beyond the bounds of time and limitation. He is not bound by our systems, and honestly, his plan is going to happen no matter who we vote for or what issues we fight over. We, as children of God, are sought after, loved desperately, fought for, and blood bought. Jesus bled for his Bride. He prayed during one of his last days on Earth, “I do not ask for these only (the disciples), but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” John 17:20-23
Why does Jesus want us to be unified, “perfectly one”? So that the world catches on to the the crazy love that we are given in the Father. This oneness is modeled for us in the relationship of the the trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Closeness that is so proximal we cannot grasp it and diversity that separates each person into a distinct and different role. Wow. This is what the church is supposed to imitate, and we can not even stand to be around each other.
I teach a Sunday School class of kindergarteners, and one particular Sunday got really political really fast. One little girl told me that I was Hillary Clinton, and the other teacher was Donald Trump. The kids proceeded to yell out their opinions of each person. I immediately felt very uncomfortable, and I am sure that it was the Holy Spirit that gave me a reply, “You know what? Jesus loves both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump!” The kids’s faces lit up in wonder, “What, really?” The whole situation ended up being a great spot for the gospel to peak through, and I learned just as much as the kids did.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12
Jesus. Our Bride Groom, the one who will one day look into our eyes as we approach Him in our beautiful white dress of dazzling purity. Jesus. The one who was crushed because He couldn’t bear to let us go. Jesus. The one who faced utter separation and wrath from His Father so that one day we could be with Him. We are to love each other like that? That is not light. That does not look like a glance and a quick “how are you” in passing, and it certainly doesn’t look like condemning each other over differing views on the latest political news.
No matter the fine details we may disagree on, we are on this Earth for the purpose of bringing the Lord glory and honor. We make his name famous through our love, and so we are to love each other. Disagree, debate, but love each other and remember that the Lord is our judge and the one who is ultimately in charge of convicting and guiding. Maybe there’s a reason for our differing opinions; maybe there’s a little inkling of truth in both sides of the spectrum.
words by Savannah Cooper and photo by Hannah Jin