August 14, 2019
Pastor Paul Cannon
Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division!
There are times in all of our lives where we have to say something – regardless of consequences - because it just has to be said. You know your words might be harmful to the other person. You know that saying what needs to be said might cause division. But you say it anyways. You say it because it’s good, and right, and true and not saying it would be worse.
I had this situation on Tuesday morning with my four-year-old son Isaac. I sat him down and spoke straight from my heart.
“Isaac” I began, “You cannot wear your Halloween socks in the middle of summer.”
Cue the meltdown.
It’s not that I’m the fashion police, or that I even care generally about what he wears. I just thought that on Meet the Teacher Day for his preschool he should wear socks of the appropriate season, lest it reflect poorly on us all.
I knew he wouldn’t be happy about it. I knew he disagreed with me. But I told him anyway. Does that make me a monster? Maybe. But sometimes you just need to speak the truth, even it causes division.
This is something Jesus would agree with (if not the choice of socks).
“Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth?” Jesus asks rhetorically. I dunno Jesus. I kinda thought that was the whole point! The answer should be “Yes” of course. Peace, love, harmony are kind of Jesus’ thing.
But Jesus says no. Instead, when Jesus comes, he brings division – not because he doesn’t want peace and harmony in the world, but because when Jesus comes, he speaks the truth, and the truth can sometimes divide us. The truth disrupts powerful systems and even more powerful people.
When you speak out against oppressive powers, that can cause divisions. When you raise your voice for the poor and downtrodden, that causes strife. When speak the truth to those who don’t want to hear it, there will be conflict.
But that’s the way of Jesus. It’s a way of division – not for division’s sake – but for the sake of truth.