By Pastor Dan Coughlin, River of Life Church
As we celebrate the birth of our nation, we can reflect on the many wonderful ideas our nation stands for. Some of the quotes of our most famous documents express the heart’s cry of our founding fathers such as “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” and we are “one nation, under God, indivisible.” Such declarations express the purpose and intent for all the people who become citizens of this great nation.
Among the unique privileges of our citizenry is the right of free speech, to speak out in favor or disapproval of laws, political leaders, or any position; everyone has a right to express their ideas publicly or privately without fear of reprisal. While these privileges are to be valued and preserved, we must realize that there is an unseen force at work to destroy this nation.
Over the past several years, there has been an ever-increasing animosity of one group against another. Strife, accusations, condemnation, judgments, finger pointing and blame have galvanized the positions of large segments of our society, bringing great division. Why is that a problem? Jesus said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Mt. 12:25).
The late Bishop Tony Palmer made this statement, “diversity is divine, but division is diabolical.”
We all have opinions of what is right and what is wrong and who is to blame. We have this need to take sides and express ourselves, defend our position, and slander and blame those we disagree with, but is that beneficial for our cause or us?
The Bible shows us that there are two kingdoms on the Earth. There is the kingdom of God that is described as the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. Everybody is in one of these kingdoms. If we have come to understand that Jesus is our Savior, he died for our sins, he took upon himself our judgment, he rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God and by faith we have received his forgiveness and acceptance then we have been, “delivered from the authority of darkness, and have been translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son” (Col. 1:13).
The kingdom of darkness can best be described by the many ways the word “darkness” is defined in scripture – night, blindness, ignorance, ungodliness, immorality, misery, destruction, death, sorrow, wickedness. All of these conditions or actions give evidence to the work of those who are still in the kingdom of darkness.
How should we, as believers, respond to these divisive efforts that would destroy our nation?
First we need to realize that the problem is not the darkness, but the absence of light. Light will always overcome the darkness.
Second, we can’t resolve anything with those in darkness by using the same tactics. Blaming, name-calling, criticizing, condemning only brings greater division. You can’t blame a blind man for not seeing. If you try to reason with a blind man he will still be blind. You can yell at a deaf man but he still will not hear you.
We can blame the blind or we can address the darkness. Our struggle is not with people but against “the rulers of the darkness of this world” (Eph. 6:12). Jesus gave us authority to bind and to loose in earth what he has done in heaven (Mt. 18:18). You have been given authority to bind the darkness and loose those who have been kept in its captivity.
Last of all, we can walk in the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21) or we can demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22,23). If we walk according to the flesh (criticizing, condemning, and blaming) we only bring more divide. If we give demonstration to the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control), then those in the dark can see a better way and taste the sweetness that is only found in the Kingdom of light.
Taking a stand for what is righteous and good is a privilege we should all exercise. Protesting injustice, demanding policy changes, and refusing to bow to tyranny and abuse are all characteristics that gave birth to our exceptional nation but killing, stealing, and destroying are the activities of a dark kingdom. Let us not tolerate the abuses of darkness but let us “do all things without murmurings and disputing: that we may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom we shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:14,15).