THE ROOT CAUSE OF DIVISIONS

The bitter divide answered involves a metanoia…

Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:6,7

Jesus’ Prayer in the face of divisions he predicted and said he would cause (Luke 12:49-53): “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

6 “I have revealed you[a] to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of[b] your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by[c] that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by[d] the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” ( John 17)


Jesus promised that we would have divisions.  He even stated that he came as the Prince of Peace to cause them.  So how are we to deal with this paradox when we long for peace so much?  Why are these divisions so pronounced in our country at this time?  Thomas Sowell addresses the divisions we have in this country in his book, Conflict of Visions.  He does not address the divisions in the Church, but we can derive some helpful points in what he says (I have included his short video on the subject below) in gaining a deeper understanding of the problem.

The following are thoughts about his video with the aim of tying things together in order to see them more clearly through the lens of our Christian faith and the same point that Chesterton (Sowell is also a reader of Chesterton) makes about our part is dealing with division from Christ’s perspective.  It takes a changing of how we view this world and this life as God advised Cain. 

As long as philosophers have been trying to find some “unification theory” for why we have problems, God has told us for over 2 thousand years WHY, as Sowell states in his “Constrained vision” we only have “limited and unhappy choices available” (and our political Left does not want to acknowledge and concede to this reality. They subscribe to the other vision Sowell discusses in his book)
 
We have those “limited and unhappy choices available” because our original parents, Adam and Eve, made a very bad choice that affects all of us down to the present day. (Romans 5:12) The only answer to getting the human race out of those circumstances is not any human government or human intervention or even human rebellion (that’s what got us here). Indeed, what government on earth could address the frontline effects of personal sin and its outworking over time and space? This is what Ecclesiastes 9:11 is getting at when it states:
 
“I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.”
 
The answer that God has provided us is Christ and His Kingdom. Its the answer that unravels the mess we are all in and takes things backwards from sin to perfection, for the personal to the communal, and every layer between. It does so on a grand and physical scale (Rev 21:3-4) and it does so internally and spiritually (Acts 3:19-20) It unrolls over time to give EVERY person whom God knows will be born a chance and it happens supernaturally, when that number has been filled by all those who accept His invitation to everlasting life.
 
Only then will inequities and divisions and different visions disappear. The human race will live in peace with one another with no one making them tremble or causing loss and harm. As Micah 4:4 promises:
 
“Everyone will sit under their own vine
and under their own fig tree,
and no one will make them afraid,
for the Lord Almighty has spoken.”
 

So what God tells Cain and what Jesus prays for us have a connective tissue and its this: We cannot solve our problems ourselves. Only Christ can do that.  Only His kingdom is the answer.  BUT, we can change our mind, how we see things and start seeing them from God’s view point.  And God is saying to us the same thing he told Cain: Change your mind and attitude and I will help change your hearts and spirit. That is what will help us get through the problems we all face with a better attitude, with more peace until the Kingdom finally comes.

All painful catastrophes, small or great including the divisions in our country, are catalysts for changing our mind and looking at them the right way, as God sees them.  C.S. Lewis points out that pain is a great motivator and one that God is not hesitant in using if it means it saves our everlasting life and the lives of others.  “Pain”, he observes, “insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” At some point, all of us have something extreme happen to help us change our attitude. That’s what the Greek word metanoia means– a changed (meta) mind (noia).  Chesterton was no exception when it came to changing his mind so that his spirit could change.  This is how Chesterton’s great work, “Orthodoxy” begins: with a metanoia, a change of how he looked at life and his circumstances

“For if this book is a joke it is a joke against me. I am the man who with the utmost daring discovered what had been discovered before…No one can think my case more ludicrous than I think it myself; no reader can accuse me here of trying to make a fool of him: I am the fool of this story, and no rebel shall hurl me from my throne.  I freely confess all the idiotic ambitions of the end of the nineteenth century. I did, like all other solemn little boys, try to be in advance of the age. Like them I tried to be some ten minutes in advance of the truth. And I found that I was eighteen hundred years behind it. I did strain my voice with a painfully juvenile exaggeration in uttering my truths. And I was punished in the fittest and funniest way, for I have kept my truths: but I have discovered, not that they were not truths, but simply that they were not mine.  When I fancied that I stood alone I was really in the ridiculous position of being backed up by all Christendom…The man from the yacht thought he was the first to find England; I thought I was the first to find Europe. I did try to found a heresy of my own; and when I had put the last touches to it, I discovered that it was orthodoxy.” – G. K. Chesterton, Introduction, Orthodoxy, 1908

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