Divided We Fall. Lincoln was so committed to the idea of unity he went to war to keep America one nation under God. Along the way he freed an enslaved race. His ideal came from Jesus, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” (Mark 3: 23, 24).
Blind Spots. Are we Christians able to adjust our mirrors to see our glaring blind spot—the absurdity of rejoicing over being one nation, yet happily engaging in our own little ministries, while disregarding the work of our brethren? From this we have many sects, denominations, non-denominations, independents and churches next door to each other who rarely speak. Sadly, we have not only distanced ourselves from one another, we actually celebrate our separateness.
I played my part in the illusion, teaching our schisms must be a part of God’s plan to meet the differing needs and wants of various people. I even once said, “True, we have many divisions, but we are still one army.” Foolishness! Many pastors like myself went our own way, often laboring to preserve our turf, our traditions, our denominational ties and our own ballyhooed doctrinal viewpoints.
Cooperating or Competing? We never admitted it, but we did compete with one another for members. We only made vague genuflections in the direction of cooperation with other churches. We had to keep our own institutions alive and well.
What Would Jesus Say? Would he applaud our divisiveness or would he say, “I told you! Divided against yourselves means failure.” And we have failed in His mission. And what is that mission. “Seek to save those who are lost.” Millions of our recent generations remain virtually untouched by the good news of Christ’s love and forgiveness. Are they found or are they lost?
How to Lose a War Without Trying. I was shocked viewing a T.V. documentary about the invasion of the USSR by Germany in World War II. Again and again generals led their men into disastrous defeats because of lack of cooperation and coordination. It was a holocaust for both sides. Even more millions died due to Stalin and Hitler making horrendous decisions despite the warnings of their generals. In the end, Germany lost more to Russia’s winters and vastness than to their military.
United We Stand and Prevail. Generals Eisenhower and Bradley led Operation Overlord., which ultimately won a victory over Germany. It cost many lives, but far less than in Russia. They were burdened with severe handicaps. Under them were brilliant generals with big egos. Even more difficult was that the allies were not united. They had to deal with armies, navies and air forces of 18 different nations. But Ike and Omar would have none of it. “Work together! Get along,” they were warned,or “we’ll find someone who will.” Moreover, they were on the same page with their leaders, Churchill and Roosevelt, who put their full trust in them. Like Lincoln, they demanded unity. It is a strategy that wins wars.
And we should go and do likewise.