A House Divided

Romans 16:17-18

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.  For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

I read these verses and I immediately thought of one thing, politics.

Paul is talking about those who wish to take control of the new Church of Christ, but really he is talking about any of those who wish to take power and control of others.  I guess this was Paul dealing with politics within the early Church.

This is exactly what we see today, and has been the game plan for all who want to rule over any of us.  This strategy goes back hundreds of years before Christ and probably all the way back to the beginning of life.  So it should be of no surprise to anyone that it’s still used today.  It works.

“divide et impera” (divide and rule) is attributed to Philip II of Macedon who reigned as king from 359 BC until 336 BC when he was assassinated.  I guess someone else decided to employ his strategy.  Divide and conquer has been the motto of leaders throughout history.  It was used by Julius Caesar, Louis XI, Napoleon, and the House of Habsburg, to name a few.

Jesus knew how humans with all their vanity and covetousness would employ this tactic to rule over each other as stated:

Mark 3:25

And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.

No I know that’s not exactly what he was referring to in the context of this verse, but the principle is understood.

Abraham Lincoln was an exception to the rule when it came to politicians.  Lincoln tried desperately to keep the country united and stood up for his principles and morals, a trait politicians rarely possess.  He knew of the consequences of division among men when he made his “House Divided” speech at the Republican State Convention in Illinois in 1858.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.  I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.  It will become all one thing or all the other.”

Lincoln understood that the country could not go on as it was, divided.   The politicians of the time, and really the politicians of all times, were only concerned with appeasing their voter base and vilifying the opposition.  Lincoln knew that at some point one side would crumble and be ruled by the other.  He understood the morality and righteousness of the issues in this political struggle and was willing to sacrifice his political career for his principles and beliefs.  I don’t think that has happened or will ever happen again.

So, enough about Abraham Lincoln.

Truly this is the politics of man, divide and conquer.  Let’s take the individual and make them part of a group.  Let’s take the group and pit them against the group who disagrees with us.  The other side is despicable, so you go after them.  We’ll have our group do our dirty work for us, and we’ll just sit back and reap the benefits.

For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

They remove the individual by placing us into a group and pit one group (the good guys) against the other group (the bad guys).  But really, as individuals we probably all want the same thing.

While the groups are busy trying to conquer each other, they take away the power from all the individuals.  It’s all done to feed vanity and covetousness.

What ever happened to the Abe Lincolns in politics?  I guess he was one of a kind.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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