Have you ever read the 3 John’s? Those tiny books near the very back of the Bible with the clever names of First, Second and Third John? I will confess that I have never given those books much thought until I had to write several curriculum lessons from them. Even then I remember noticing a theme emerging, but was far too distracted with other things to allow the theme more than a passing glance.
Yet now as I am having to prepare to teach those same lessons to 4th graders, the theme stands out like a blinking neon light. The small yet mighty books call out loudly among the noise and chatter of this world. Most intriguing of all is that our 4th graders are understanding the truths being proclaimed in these books far better than most adult Christians (myself included).
And what is the theme? The blinking, beeping, understood-by-children-but-not-so-much-by-adults theme?
Love, or what I like to call spiritual super glue.
It is Godly love.
Love as it was meant to be.
Love in its most pure and true form.
The Love that is given to each and every one who confesses Jesus as Lord.
The indwelling love of the Holy Spirit who enables God’s people to love supernaturally, even when it’s hard, even in the midst of an ugly and divisive election season.
Love-that when shared the way Jesus intended-can hold His very different and opinionated people together like a spiritual super glue.
My heart plummeted into my chest last night as I trolled my facebook newsfeed. (Exactly the reason my husband continues to question why I troll my facebook newsfeed. He does indeed have a point!)
Every other post was related to the upcoming election.
Is the election important? Absolutely. Is there a great deal at stake with this election? Absolutely. Is anyone’s mind going to be changed by a passionate rant on facebook. Not so much.
As I read comment after comment I felt a deep sorrow gnawing at my soul. A sorrow over the realization that we, God’s people, are being duped by the enemy. We are being manipulated and are playing right into satan’s hand.
What did Jesus spend His last hours in the garden of Gethsemane doing? Praying for unity among believers.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 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……. 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.” John 17:20-23
Unity among believers is how the world will know who Jesus is and the love the Father has for all.
So doesn’t it make sense that satan wants nothing more than to tear believers apart-especially now?
Believers have fought about many things since the birth of the church. Yet, these days the fighting seems more intense: racial issues, social issues, doctrine issues and now a heated election.
You gotta give props where props are due. Satan has done a masterful job of using the difficult issues and choices before us to splinter, fracture, weaken and dilute the spiritual super glue holding God’s people together.
“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us….And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 1 John 4:12, 21.
Am I saying that we shouldn’t disagree about anything and should instead plaster fake smiles and never discuss anything other than the weather? (OK, so maybe for a day that would be nice!) But no, of course not.
But maybe instead of posting a rebuttal or snarky response we run our words and thoughts by Jesus. Remember the WWJD movement? Can we bring that back???
Think about the heated arguments that surely erupted during Jesus’ time on earth. Can you see Him firing back a scathing response? Trying to convince someone that He is right?
Not at all. Did He over turn a table or two in righteous holy frustration? Yes, but only when dealing with the religious leaders who were leading people astray with their hypocrisy. But He never belittled. Never ranted.
Instead Jesus lived by example. He loved the unlovely. He helped the broken. He offered sight to the blind. He shined God’s light into our darkness.
He led, He fed, He bled, He raised from the dead.
What if, during these next few months, instead of trolling social media, God’s people trolled His Word? What if instead of going at each other we sat at the feet of the Father? What if instead of trying to convince someone to vote the way we are, we spent time showing them the love of the Father?
And what if instead of allowing satan to manipulate us, we asked God to use us to show His love to others? Even to those who do not agree with us.
It makes me wonder: Is satan working so hard to fracture God’s people because he fears what will happen if we unite?
Wow! Makes me want to unite just to see what he is so afraid of!