I think we can all agree that this COVID mess, political strife, and a media that thrives off conflict has initiated and inflamed a sifting, a separating of sorts. Masks, no masks. Black lives matter, all lives matter. Democrat, republican. Increase police, decrease police. But I think we can also agree that something is off with these divisions. Can you put words to what it is?
There is definitely a separation going on, but it’s not the above examples. Because if you look at it, there are angry people on both sides, rabble rousers on both sides, need for control on both sides, and arrogant pride on both sides.
There are lines drawn, but these are not what separates or unites us. Consider these scriptures:
“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice! The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” -Philippains 4: 4-6
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things.” -Philippians 4: 8
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and will all your mind. . . Love your neighbor as yourself.” -Matthew 22: 37-38
“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.” -2 Corinthians 13: 5
“Do you ot know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” -1 Corinthians 6: 19-20
Read each of these again, and use Scripture as a mirror instead of the false dichotomies of the world. This is the time where the true sifting happens between those who will find reason to rejoice and those who will not, those who will increase in devotion to prayer or not, think on excellent things worthy of praise or not, love God and neighbor or not, examine themselves or not, glorify God in their body or not. All of these things (and other instructions and encouragements in the Scriptures) point toward the unifying point of separation: whether we bear fruit or not.
Jesus tells us in John 15: 16, “I appointed you that you should go and bear fruit.” Are you bearing fruit?
Don’t feel wretched or condemned if you haven’t been. The invitation is that you begin now. The world needs fruit, and it is up to us Christians not to condemn those who aren’t, but to feed them from the vine that has proven true. Will you join me?
Sean King is the Pastor for First Christian Church of Cisco.