Demosthenes, the famous Greek orator once wisely stated, “Nothing is so easy as to deceive oneself; for what we wish, we readily believe.” Demosthenes understood something about the essence of human nature!
Quite frankly I am amazed by our ability to rationalize our judgmental attitudes toward other Christians—especially those foolish enough to remain outside of our own elite organizations. Of course, we expend a lot of effort critiquing our own pastors, lay leaders and church members (doesn’t God expect us to keep them all in line?), but at the end of the day it’s difficult to understand why other Christians would fail to see the wisdom of joining our church. After all, we’re there so it must obviously be God’s anointed fellowship!
Jesus clearly stated, “Every kingdom divided against itself is destroyed, and no town or house divided against itself will stand” Matthew 12:25 (NET).
The kingdom of light is at war with the kingdom of darkness—and it must be absolutely clear—we will not win the battle for our culture if we have darkness in our hearts toward our brothers and sisters in Christ. We can rant and rave all we want about how all of those unsaved people are destroying our society, but the truth is that we will never significantly impact their behavior until we are united as the body of Christ.
Many pastors and church leaders have used the Matthew 12:25 passage to help preserve unity within their own churches or denominations—and, of course, the application is appropriate. But the broader context of this passage speaks of unity in the kingdom of God—an application that we often miss.
To equate one’s own ministry, church or denomination with the kingdom of God is a HUGE mistake! The kingdom is far greater than any one of these entities. In fact, a primary reason for disunity (and the church’s lack of influence in our society) is that we are too busy building our own feudal kingdoms. Can we say Dark Ages?
Most church leaders bristle when they see selfishness at work in the lives of those within their own congregations. Not many pastors would be pleased to see church members redirect tithe money toward family vacations! As servants of Christ, we expect them to look beyond their own households and give a portion of their finances, time and energy to the church. After all, it’s the Christian thing to do.
My question is this: Do we employ the art of self-deception by practicing selfishness with regards to our church or denomination? Are we willing to give beyond our own church household in an effort to further the kingdom of God?
I know of a pastor whose church takes up a monthly offering for other churches in their community. They are breaking down walls and building bridges in an area that has been overrun by strife amongst professing Christians. Wouldn’t it be great if such kingdom mindedness was the norm in every community rather than the exception? Certainly a new day would dawn!