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Being a Christian in a Divisive Time

Being a Christian in a Divisive Time

The more I spend time online, the more astonished I am by how much people argue and try to prove each other wrong. I know that people online have always had strong opinions about issues and events and that I have been a part of lively discussions as a commenter or critic before. The difference between then and now is that people today are so quick to attack others virtually.

Name-calling and profanity have become so easy to use there is no thought given to their negative impact on relationships. Some have become so radical they can’t even meet others halfway in discussions any longer. Some have become aggressive defenders of whichever movement, cause, or side they favor.

In this post, let’s talk about being a Christian in a divisive time.

Ever since this whole thing (segregation, division, polarization) blew up, something felt off in me. It does not align with what I am learning as a growing Christian. I’m supposed to show agape love to other people, but the world says otherwise. Postmodern society is handing out a free pass to attack, ostracize, and shut off people.

What Have We Become?

A friend of mine who is also a Christian is one of those who support barring unvaccinated people from participating in society. That friend believes that the unvaccinated should be quarantined at home regardless if they are healthy. They must stay at home at all times. There is no mention of any regard for the well-being of these people. No mention of their livelihood, the possible psychological and health implications or their human rights.

A Christian acquaintance who lives in a country subject to one of the strictest regulations and mandates has expressed his frustration over the fact that other people have shut down friends and family!

Another Christian friend of mine who chose not to get vaccinated told me that she was no longer being invited to social gatherings by her friends. My heart sank when I read her message.

These days I often ask myself, what have we really become? We consider ourselves to be Christians and yet we too are among those who attack, ostracize and shut down people. We have consciously or unconsciously placed ourselves in one of the extremes. We have participated in segregation.

What Does the Bible Say?

A person studying the Bible while having coffee.
Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com

No person is common or unclean.

Every time I ask myself what we have become, I’m pointed to this verse.

“And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.” – Acts‬ ‭10: 28‬ ‭ESV‬‬

If we read Acts or Acts 10 in context, we would know that at this time, Jews and Gentiles were not supposed to be socializing together—let alone be in the latter’s house. Jews were not supposed to eat or drink (or drink from the same cup) with Gentiles because the Gentiles were considered unclean. They were unclean because they ate impure food, were suspected of shedding blood, and were living sinful lives.

Now, Peter was a Jew while Cornelius was a Gentile; this makes the story interesting. And yet, Peter—who understood the vision God had shown him—obeyed. He went to Caesarea with Cornelius’s people. Peter met Cornelius and did not think of him as common or unclean. Peter did not let human classification hold him back. He followed God’s plan, just as every Christian should.

Peter arrived with compassion and shared the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ to the Gentiles in Cornelius’s house. Before they knew it, the Holy Spirit fell on all of them. The next thing we know, they were being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

A group of Christians studying the bible.
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“So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality,”Acts 10: 34‬

Again, this is a great reminder that God loves all of us equally.

Right now, we are all in the same boat of confusion and uncertainty. We all have our own opinions, but no one knows for sure which position is the best.

So why then do we allow our differences to divide us? Why are we being partial?

To some, it could be a response to fear, the feeling of powerlessness in the face of the unknown. To others, taking control is a way to feel safe. To some, it may simply be their true nature shining through. But these aren’t characteristics or responses of a Christian!

As Christians, the cited verses should help us navigate this postmodern world. As described in the book Coming Out Alive!, one of the characteristics that define postmodernism is Tolerance, acceptance of, and subjection to, the Postmodern lifestyle and culture is demanded of others, yet for the most part, tolerance is not afforded to those who hold a point of view which is contrary to or considered out-of-sync with their own.”. If you want to learn about this topic further, I have a Book Feature: Coming Out Alive!.

Like Peter, we should focus on what God has called us to do. Instead of thinking about each other’s vaccination statuses, let’s show up and be there for each other. If we realize that some of our friends cannot get into private establishments, let us make plans for next time at another place or invite them over, provided that we are following protocols and given that everyone is well.

Instead of being too intent on the latest variant, why not share God’s Word? Let’s talk about His goodness in our life this past week! We know that God’s truth is available in the Bible. Why not share our studies and reflections with our friends?

Our goal should be to point many people as we could to Christ.

God has given us a sound mind.

In search of truth and making decisions, I would like to share one of my favorite verses to date. 2 Timothy 1:7 and in the NKJV.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy‬ ‭1: 7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Because of the pandemic, several people have lost their sense of reason due to irrational fears that have completely taken over their minds. We have seen too many viral videos of extreme behaviors out of paranoia. If I may borrow the words of our home church pastor, some people consider the virus as a “death sentence”. It sounds as if there is no desire to live anymore. There is no hope for a better outcome anymore.

It is always good to take precautions and protect ourselves. Before anything, let us always pray first and seek God’s guidance through the Holy Spirit. If God has given you the conviction to take the vaccine, by all means, get it! It should ease the worry that you have about the virus. However, living in constant fear and extreme paranoia and blaming others is counterproductive and anti-Christian.

Going back to the verse, God gave us a sound mind. The opposite of having a sound mind is unstable, ignorant, insane, mad, and paranoid. Did God tell us to be ignorant? Did God tell us never to question anything?

God is so good that He blessed us with the ability to think straight, think things through logically, and then act rationally. We all have the opportunity to ask as many questions as we want. God gave us the ability to make our own choices, but as Christians, we should be mindful to make choices that align with His Word.

We are not pre-destined robots.

Let’s use what God gave us. Let’s seek the ultimate single source of truth, and that is God Himself. From there, let us allow our convictions to lead us to the right decision.

Show steadfast love and faithfulness.

Here’s a verse that lifted me one day during my Bible reading. I hope it will do the same for you in this darkening time.

“Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.” – Proverbs‬ ‭3:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

May we never let go of steadfast love and faithfulness. No matter what. Whether things get better or will only get worse, let us love people even more and seek God even more. Let us be real Christians. To do this, we must have a relationship with God. We should seek Him earnestly and continuously.

Here are some habits I’ve formed ever since I accepted Jesus.

As Christians, we know that we need to choose between the wide road and the narrow one. We know that we will not always be on the popular side. Therefore let us not get too comfortable being in the popular crowd.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” – Matthew 7: 13–14 ESV

Even Albert Einstein’s once said, “What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.” This quote came up from a recent Sunday school lesson in my home church.

If we act like the rest of the world, what sets us apart as Christians? How do our actions differ from those of non-believers? How can we be the light of the world if we dim the lives of the people around us? Let us, therefore, go back to the truth and re-learn how we ought to treat others as a child of God.

Let’s learn to reach out to one another despite our differences.

Being a Christian in a divisive time.
Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

I did not write this post to attempt to change your mind about your decisions. I wrote this piece as a Christian currently noticing that the division of opinions within the community is growing.

I also hope that it will be helpful as you go out and interact with people these days, both online and offline.

If you’ve been moved by what you’ve read, feel free to leave a comment. Please keep it respectful.

A Christian is someone who is a true follower of Jesus Christ and a doer of His Word.

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