Division Sucks

2020 is the worst.I have had so many feelings this year, and have started a lot of posts about them, but have yet to complete even one. This is partially because I have been overwhelmed by what 2020 has been, and frankly have been trying to battle newfound anxiety as an extrovert living in quarantine. I do not know how you see the world, but as I write this, one word is coming to mind… divided. 

Entering 2020 I figured our country would end the year fairly divided, since that’s what most election years look like anyway. However, I obviously had no concept of how this year would turnout…

The year started with an impeachment trial that divided the nation. Then COVID-19 hit, and we were divided over response to this pandemic. Then the murder of George Floyd seemed to draw a line down the middle of our country, separated by 2 hashtags: #blacklivesmatter and #alllivesmatter. Now, at least in my home state, a mandatory mask order leaves us still divided.

There is so much divisiveness and negativity out in media, that honestly, I can’t take it. Turning on the news sucks. Facebook sucks. Fighting and name calling because you disagree sucks. Division sucks. 

But here is the good news: we are over halfway through 2020! We can begin to write a new narrative; one that doesn’t suck. I think the rest of 2020 is going to be full of opportunities to be divided, and my prayer is that all of us act with incredible humility, and pursue unity. I wonder how much of a difference it could make if instead of trying to be right, we tried to love others really well and stay untied?

This time is especially important for believers. The Bible is full of passages about unity, but I will leave you with just one thought. In Romans 14, Paul writes about a preference of choosing to eat “unclean” foods or not. Paul says that it ultimately it doesn’t matter what your preference is, but what matters is loving others really well. He says this:

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Earlier, in Romans 12, Paul says something very similar about how to respond to evil:

18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Here is the point: We will never agree with everyone, but our disagreement is never justification for a lack of love. We cannot justify our own hate because of what others believe or think. Our job is to love people, not seek ways out of loving others. We are to seek unity, not seek Facebook debates. We must be better.

I ended last year writing a blog entitled “In Repair” where I discussed that we are all learning and growing, and that process may be messy, but it is incredibly human. I think we all have an opportunity to love others really well by choosing humility, and extending grace and compassion on others who think differently than us. We do not know everything about them, but we know they were made in the image of God, and that is all that should matter to us.

We can do this. It is going to require that we make changes to how we think, but that’s what learning and growing is all about.

Trust the process. Take your next step. Now is your moment. 

Remain. 

11 thoughts on “Division Sucks

  1. Here’s the tricky part. If I stand up and say we need to do better in regards to racism in this country, if I stand up and say “We have a major problem,” if I dare imply that White superiority is psychologically embedded into our brains, regardless of color, I am told I’m being divisive—and even worse. And the thing is, people of color didn’t create this division, but by daring to stand up and say that it’s there, they are shut down and told to stop dividing our country.

    They and their allies aren’t dividing it. They are desperately trying hard to unify it.

    I agree that we need to stop the name calling, remember that we are speaking to actual friends and family members, and truly listen to their perspective. Your friend who’s a LEO—listen! Your friend who is a BIPOC—listen! Your friend who supports the BLM organization—listen! Your friend who thinks there is a Marxist revolution taking place—listen! And don’t just listen to one voice because each person within a people group has different opinions and different perspectives.

    And then read with an open and broken heart and come to your own conclusion.

    But at the end of the day, until we address the root of our division, we don’t stand a chance at unity.

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  2. Well, I typed a longish reply and now it’s gone. (Sigh)

    I agree that we need to stop the name calling. I am so tired of being called divisive, a liberal democrat (I’m not, but why is that an insult?), and having my patriotism and character called into question. And I’m tired of those who disagree with me being called names. It’s like we’ve forgotten that we are still friends and family.

    But here’s the thing. If someone says, “We have a problem and we need to address it,” they are accused of causing division. If someone dares to even imply that White superiority (not supremacy) is embedded into the fabric of our society and government, they are accused of tearing apart our country. Why is it all blamed on the ones who want to actually address the problem? Isn’t that truly seeking after unity?

    Until we address the root of our problem, we cannot have unity. We can have continued sweeping under the rug, but not unity. We have never had unity on the subject of racism. Never. And we can’t until we dig deep, think deep, read deep, and listen really, really hard to all perspectives (LEO’s, BIPOC’s, allies, nationalists, etc.).

    (And just to make it more fun, they don’t all agree within their own people groups.)

    Addressing a problem is not creating division; it’s just pointing it out. But name calling, snide comments, insults, and questioning each other’s character is. And that goes for everyone.

    Go sit in time out. 😜

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    1. I totally agree with you. Here’s my point: division is causing a lack of love, and that’s the problem. We can address issues, and still promote love. We can call out sin without degrading or insulting people. We can disagree well. That’s the point. When we promote love and unity, we address things that matter in a respectful and helpful way. I don’t think it’s an either/ or situation. It can be both/ and, but that requires us, as believers, to remember we are children of God, not children of a party. And when we love people like Jesus did, we have to address systemic issues.

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      1. Actually, I almost agree. A lack of love is causing division, not the other way around.

        All this fear and lack of love is exhausting.

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  3. Thanks for sharing Phil. I often think of 1 Cor 1-3 lately; to summarize, if I do all these things but lack LOVE I am nothing/I gain nothing. I can be a conservative Christian and still have empathy for others. I think the hard part is…these times are hard. Christians are at risk of losing a lot and any stance is seen as negative or division. But we have to (and soon) take a stance in love, help others, and move forward, together! The church has a big role to play here and we’ve been too focused on the wrong things and too scared to take a healthy, loving stance to meet the needs of those who need it.

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