Ever feel alone and alienated? Not sure how you fit in or where you belong? You and I were created for community, and it seems we spend our lives searching for that community – a place where we feel welcomed and at home. But while we are desiring unity, we are being constantly pulled apart by many forms of division. And as if there isn’t enough separating us from each other already, we are constantly creating new categories with which to further separate ourselves from one another. It seems we are encouraged to focus more on our differences than on our similarities.
Some divisions have been around for centuries. Rich versus poor, or economic/class divisions have plagued many countries and societies over time. India has a caste system, which keeps people immobile, with no possibility of moving beyond the status conferred on them by birth. Royal monarchies in many countries create and perpetuate class divisions in those countries. Today we see divisions between employers and employees, (unions) between male and female, between parents and children, between gay and straight, – we form divisions based on skin color, based on religion, based on politics and we continue to create new divisions. Two of the most recently formed divisions are masks versus no masks and vaccinated versus unvaccinated. These are brand new divisions between people which did not exist pre-pandemic. In our current culture, social media has been used to divide people into groups and pit them against one another (telling each that the other is the problem) with alarming speed and success.
After all, when times are tough, we want someone to blame for our troubles, someone we can see as an enemy who must be defeated. So we separate ourselves into groups and go to war, so to speak. The trouble is, each of us may actually “belong” to several different groups, so we end up at war with ourselves. And we end up at odds with family and friends. In the movie, “Remember the Titans,” Gary said it best when he said to Julius, his teammate, “I was afraid of you, Julius. I only saw what I was afraid of, and now I know I was only hating my brother.”
Indeed, fear is a main factor used to create division among people. Fear and false information feed the fires of hatred and mistrust, causing divisions where previously none had existed. With our differences being put before us twenty-four/seven, it’s no wonder we feel alienated from other people, thinking we have nothing in common with them. (how about our humanity?) Fear prevents us from reaching out and discovering as Gary did in “Remember the Titans” that we are more alike than different at our cores.
Why? Because we are all created in the image of our Creator God. The account of this event is recorded in Genesis 1:26-27,
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
From this shared beginning, come all the diversity and uniqueness that we are witness to in people all over this world. Our Creator is a God of diversity in all of His creation. There is diversity, beauty and uniqueness throughout the entire universe. Every snowflake is distinct and unique, and yet all are snow. United, they blanket the earth in dazzling white. God knows every hair on every head and He calls every star by name.
“He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” (Isaiah 40:26)
God calls you and me by name as well, dear readers. We each have a fingerprint that is ours alone and God recognizes each and every one of them! (of course He does, He’s the One who gave us our unique fingerprints and our unique identities to go with them) And yet we share 99.9% of our DNA with all other human beings! So much alike and yet so different. Only God could accomplish both realities in the same creature!
Today we find ourselves separated from our Creator and from each other. But there is One who is a Reconciler. He is able to reconcile us to Himself and to each other. Jesus came to make a way for us to be reconciled to God and subsequently to each other. Paul explained it in his letter to the Ephesians in this way,
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:13-18)
We all have access to God equally through one spirit, the same spirit, God’s Holy Spirit. And how fortunate we are that God is no respecter of persons. He loves each of us equally and treats us all the same, applying the same standard to all.
“Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right.” (Acts 10:34)
Indeed, through Jesus Christ we have unity with each other, not division. Galatians 3:26-28 and Colossians 3:11 explain this saying,
“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
“Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”
Our Creator is a God of infinite diversity, but not of division. Diversity is our strength, as it is a gift from God. But division will be our downfall, demise and death. That’s why Jesus told His followers,
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)
Jesus was referring to love – the action rather than love, the feeling. Love reconciles us to each other. It does not divide us against one another. In this world of division and dissension, Christ’s love will bridge the chasms currently dividing us, reconciling and reconnecting us to those we have lost due to disastrous divisions created in our current culture.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” (2 Corinthians 13:11)
“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)
sincerely, Grace Day