As we come into Thanksgiving and Christmas on the heels of the most divisive election season in our history, we may need to work extra hard to not be a house divided. Over the years, I have seen families torn apart by relatively insignificant issues. Sometimes they find healing and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they don’t see that healing until other family members have passed away. Watching a family fight against itself is painful and experiencing it has to be even more painful.
In Genesis, we have already seen the seeds of division appear so many times (and we’re still only in the first book). Of course we began with division of man from God, but it didn’t stop there. The first siblings were divided and that led to murder. Division seems to be prevalent in just about every generation mentioned so far. As we come to the life of Abraham we see division between him and his nephew, and between his two sons, Isaac and Ishmael. Eventually Isaac marries and division is obvious in his sons while they are still in the womb.
“The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.”” (Gen 25:22-23)
The story of division is key to the whole history of Israel, and the whole human history. Actually it even goes BEFORE human history as Lucifer (caught up in his own pride) convinced 1/3 of the angels to divide from God. We can’t seem to avoid division, neither could the angels. Only through Jesus can we mend these wounds.
Despite the fact that the Bible is filled with stories of division, it is also filled with stories of reunification and closure. We see one moment of burying the hatchet at the death of Abraham. “Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people. Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, east of Mamre,”
(Gen 25:8-9) While the division of these two still grew in the future, at least they were able to come together, even if only for this one moment.
This year as we gather with our families, some divided by faith or religion, some divided by politics, and other divided by varying life choices… it’s my prayer that we seek ways to reconnect, to find more value in the family relationship than in whatever has led to the divisions among us. Don’t let Satan continue to use whatever issue he has used to divide your house. Turn to Christ. Turn to love. Love conquers all.
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