Sowing Discord … October 10, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

It makes me a little uncomfortable. No, actually it makes me VERY uncomfortable.

Talking about seven things that God hates is not exactly my favorite topic. I don’t know if it’s because I lean towards appreciating the more loving aspects of the Almighty, or if some of the things he finds distasteful come a little too close to my own “skin-life.”

I’m not sure, but I will be honest with you–over these past seven weeks, as I have shared these warnings with you I have learned a lot. So when I came to the seventh one today, which states that “God hates those who sow discord amongst the brethren,” I was emotionally, spiritually and mentally lit up like a light bulb. I realized that this seventh little piece of nastiness is a culmination, or a cementing, if you will, of the previous six and that it generates a doctrine to justify the entire package.

This is how it works. We find brethren who agree with us, who tolerate our inconsistencies. We come into fellowship with them, and then because of a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, wicked imaginations, feet swift to mischief and a false witness, we are suspicious of this new alliance and begin to pick, fuss and gossip with those who are supposed to be part of our own camp. It is hateful. It is a desperate move by insecure human beings, isolating off problems instead of solving them.

The classic definition of “sowing discord among brethren” would be to tell tales, create lies or capture people in their errors and focus on the punishment instead of the redemption. But I don’t think that’s what this is talking about. I think because we know there are many faults within us that have been covered up by excuses and other forms of escapism, we become so suspicious of the world around us that we feel it is necessary to protect ourselves by destroying the competition. Yes, we think that everything is going to boil down to one winner, so we are ready to poison all those in the race.

It shows up with seven sound-byte-type ideas that creep into organizations, religion, politics and even our educational system. When we pursue these particular aggravations, we always end up critical of others and worried about where the next attack will be. Let me give you the seven bad seeds that are sown in discord:

1. “Things are bad.” It’s the only thing you can get a hearty “amen” on in any gathering. Life is tough. Life is full of problems.

2. “Evil is everywhere.” After all, how can we establish that we’re good unless we don’t point a finger at some obvious evil? When those iniquities are not quite so prevalent, we have to make up reasons for attacking a particular cause.

3. “God WILL win.”  Yes, it’s an emphasis on the end times and the ultimate victory over evil, while succumbing to the notion that in the meantime, the devil seems to be taking the day.

4. “People are dangerous.” You may think it’s important to point out that there are terrorists in the world, but dwelling on that particular concept causes us to trickle down our suspicion to everyone around us.

5. “Be careful.” It is one of those phrases that seems very innocent–a statement of wisdom–until you realize that the human life we live is filled with pitfalls and merely trying to look for the puddles of quicksand does not mean you will be less likely to get swallowed up.

6. “Cling to your own.” After all, who could object to developing an inner circle of loved ones to make more important than the other humans who live within your sphere? That’s just natural, right?

7. “Dig in.” Two words that can mean almost anything you want them to mean, but generally conclude that who we are and what we are is fine, and all the enemies of our lives are outside our little fortress of protection.

When you begin to accept any one of these seven ideas as common knowledge or common sense, you set in motion an emotional juice in the human being that causes us to reject new ideas, new people, new possibilities and even new life.

All of these show up in every facet of our interaction with each other. You can hear these seven little pieces of false counsel in churches. You certainly hear these sound-bytes television, where fussy over-anxious women chat about them on talk shows.  Nervous-Nelly men do special reports for their political parties on the pending doom. And not only are these seeds of discord producing a sense of immobility in the populace, but they also cause us to believe that the enemy of life is right outside our window–instead of staring back at us from our mirror.

It makes people self-righteous and afraid. You can see why God hates it. Is there anything worse than a self-righteous, fearful person?

So am I saying that  things AREN’T bad? No, I’m saying in everything give thanks, because none of us are intelligent enough to determine where our particular directional change is going to end up and often benefit us.

Am I denying that evil is everywhere? Yes. I’m telling you that “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,” and anyone who tries to break that code of behavior will be punished by Mother Nature.

Am I suggesting that God will NOT win? No, I’m saying that God has already won. Jesus said that even though the world is filled with tribulation, that our good cheer buys wonderful time for him to prove that he’s already overcome the world.

Don’t I agree that people are dangerous? I think some people are weak. And weak things try to pretend they’re strong. Jesus refers to these people as “the least of these my brethren.” He says that basically there is no door into them through conflict, but only through accepting your own power by assisting them and setting them on a new path.

“Come on, Jonathan. Don’t you think there ARE times to be careful?” I, myself, am in the middle of a trial at this moment. Can I be honest with you? The more I think about it, the less I am able to think. It is the power of Jesus telling us to “take no thought” over the bumps in our lives. It’s not that we should whistle a happy tune and skip down the road. Rather, it’s because the brain becomes overloaded when too many difficulties are presented, absent of solution.

Do I love my family and treasure them above all else? One of the scriptures you will never hear spoken–or at least not very often–are the words of Jesus: “When you love those that love you, you’re no better than the heathen.” If I can’t step out of my circle, I will never be able to enlarge it, and eventually I will feel cramped within its circumference and start attacking my own.

And do I think it’s important to “dig in” and hold fast to what we believe? No. Forty-eight hours ago I would have told you that I had a solid philosophy which was not particularly in need of additional inclusions. I would not have said this to be pious. I would have shared it with you in contentment. But hours have passed and I now realize that merely “digging in” to what I believe is not going to be enough. I need to expand.

This is why the first thing Jesus told the disciples to do is “go into all the world.” What a contrary thought that is to the normal religious experience! After all, don’t Jews stay with Jews? Arabs with Arabs? Hindu with Hindu? But Jesus said the most positive thing you can do to keep growing and expanding is to “go into all the world” and see how your ideas work in the earth’s marketplace.

God hates those precepts which sow discord amongst the brethren because they teach us to be afraid, and once we’re afraid, we are capable of all sorts of atrocities–be it burning young women at the stake as witches, or insisting that the black race needs to drink from a different fountain.

Watch out for those seven pieces of conventional propaganda that draw us away from the kind of expansive spirit that includes others instead of locking the door to keep all the bad things outside.

Seven things that God hates.

I’ll tell you what. Next Wednesday we’ll tie them all up and finish this little series. I hope you have enjoyed it. I hope it didn’t spook you too much, like it did me for a time.

And I hope you will stop grabbing the seed of anxiety from our generation and casting it into the field of your life.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

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