Ministry Moment: Divided Self

For years I have been taught to compartmentalize all that I am. I am supposed to have a private life and a public life. I have to divide my faith and politics. I can’t talk about morality and ethics. Every last bit of my life has its own little cell to be trapped in. I have been taught how impolite it is to be who I am, say what I believe, or dare to challenge someone else. We have become a people sealed in our own little bubbles, yet convinced that we are moving forward as a united whole. Our individualism, and sense of being politically correct has lead us down the road of societal schizophrenia.

Why can’t I have political, religious, or morality conversations in public. Why must I be one person at home, another at church, another at work, another with my friends, and yet another with my family? Why can’t we just learn to be who we are? Why must we divide up ourselves into a million semi-real versions of who we are?

I realize that caring for people’s feeling and being discrete are both laudable and very important things. I have no problem with us being considerate. I also don’t believe in arguing for the sake of arguing. My point is that we claim to be a tolerant people, but the ones calling for tolerance are the very ones not being tolerant. We force people to be left or right, Calvinist or Armenian, people of faith or people of science, or any other of a slew of divisions. Half of the time I wonder if people go around with a checklist of qualifications for being in or out of their circle. And all the while we are confused about how to be a people after God. We have divided ourselves into tiny little groups, and declared that we cannot be a part of the same body. Let us remember the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26:

12 For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 14 So the body is not one part but many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” in spite of this it still belongs to the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,” in spite of this it still belongs to the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted. 19 And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? 20 Now there are many parts, yet one body.

21 So the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 But even more, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those parts of the body that we think to be less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unpresentable parts have a better presentation. 24 But our presentable parts have no need of clothing. Instead, God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, 25 so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. 26 So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

How odd it must appear to a world in need of hope to see the people that possess the message that can set them free beating themselves up. Is it any wonder why we are such a laughing stock among so many? We offend and defile the image of Christ in an attempt to defend His good name in regard to our own understanding, instead of digging down into the word of God, which calls us to unity and long-suffering love. We must learn to listen. We cannot go on fighting and acting as thought Christ has not changed us. It seems that we have ceased to know anything about brotherhood and sisterhood. Can we no longer dialogue with fellow Christians that have different opinions than we have? Must we simply be silent around those we disagree with lest we start a fight. It seems that we have ignored Paul’s example when he said “I have become all things to all people.” We have become born again Christians, changing our actions and demeanor, like a spy changes identity.

If we belong to the King let us be a people wholly devoted to the King. If we are a family in Christ, let us learn how to listen. Let us se aside pride. Let us beat back the division and dysfunction that has invaded the family of God. Maybe if we can learn how to be The Church, then people would begin to see our light. Maybe if we stopped fighting we could be the salt of the earth, and not the salt trampled in the earth. Nations, parties, groups, teachings, leaders, sects, denominations, none of these matter. Only one things matters, service to the King.