We are undoubtedly living in one of the most divisive times in our generation. At every turn, there seems to be something to argue about.  Division is one of the oldest, and most comprehensive, destructive, and successful tool in our arch-enemy’s tool belt.

Mark 3:23–25 (NKJV) “So He called them to Himself and said to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”

Why aren’t you following that popular pastor in ______ (fill in state)? You’re a compromiser!  You are New Age! You’re un-American! You aren’t a real church! Are you for or against masks? Are you for or against vaccines? Is the virus real or not? It’s the Illuminati! It’s Marxist. Is the virus deadly or not? Should churches meet or not meet? Why can they riot but churches can’t meet? Should you have to do this or not? Are you for or against the police? Do you believe black lives matter or are you politically against law and order? You’re a racists! You’re anti-police! You get the picture.  It’s hard and challenging and no matter which direction a man takes being led by the Spirit, He faces opposition.

Mix into the difficulty a real dose of fear, anxiety, angst, anger, frustrations, and that stinking YouTube video that convinced you in 3 minutes of your new and polarizing position.

Add to that the voices of popular preachers.  Recently a prominent and well-respected pastor who went viral with his church’s public stance said openly and publicly in a recent sermon: “There has never been a time when the world didn’t need the message of the true church (open without restorations).  I have to say ‘true church’. I hate to think of that, but there’s so many false forms of the church. Let them shut down.” This bold statement implies very explicitly that if you don’t do things like he is, then you might as well be a false church and shut down.  It adds fuel to the flames of division when good, solid, God fearing men, leading real bonafide churches simply choose to respond differently as led by the Spirit!  People get emboldened when they see and hear people take sides and name call on the back end. But friend, truly it’s not helpful.  We need to learn to praise God the Church is not monolithic but full of diversity.

It seems like decency, reasonableness, and human compassion have taken a back seat to anger, frustration, and winning the argument. Along the way there are spiritual casualties, many of them. Why? Because so many have forgotten the agape love of Jesus? Life is not about winning an argument, it’s about winning the lost, loving our neighbor!

Matthew 22:37–40 (NKJV) “Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Pastors and leaders like me have taken the brunt of angry responses. I’ve seen a lot of nastiness in the 20 years I’ve been the lead overseeing pastor of Calvary Church, but wow, this season is so much more intense! Whatever decision is made, on just about any topic, you can be sure that it will draw widespread support and widespread animosity. Most of the time, your pastor’s email box is filled with the animosity unfortunately. Ministry in 2020 has become a minefield of pain for many pastors and leaders. It’s so hard that I felt compelled of the Spirit to encourage pastors this morning. I sent this out to some of the pastors here in Colorado who have entrusted me with their cell phone numbers:

“It’s interesting how the enemy of our souls is using the COVID crisis, really how we as pastors respond to it differently, as a major point of division. It seems that there is always this underlying pressure that if you aren’t doing it “this” way then you are not really a part of “our” group. Refuse that nonsense. You have the Spirit of God and He has entrusted to you a portion of His flock and greater influence beyond. It’s because you are unique that you may do things different ply to care for your local fellowship. Choose to not speak about a brother negatively and don’t allow it in your presence. We are His family. Unity wins. Disunity destroys precious lives.
Even in what should be the best moments of our lives, comparison lurks in the shadows, always seeking to exert itself and secure our worth at the expense of others.”

Galatians 5:13–15 (NLT) “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.”

Since you’re reading this I’m asking you, I’m begging you, to humble yourself before the mighty hand of God today and pray for your pastor, spiritual leaders, and enemies. Yes, pray for those who hold to a differing opinion than yours. I’m sure you can cogently make your point, but as you do, please don’t destroy the person who disagrees, especially if they are unsaved, especially especially, if they are your brother and sister in Christ.

Galatians 6:9–10 (NLT) “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.”

Refuse to take sides on the matter and choose to side in Christ. He will lead and guide you, giving you the words that will spread the aroma of Christ in an environment is more like the aroma of death.

2 Corinthians 2:16–17 (NKJV) “To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.”

In His Great Love…

Ed

John 13:34–35 (NLT) “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”