Jesus countered, “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division” (Lk 12:51).
If a troublemaker said this, everyone would have understood; but if He who was acclaimed to be the Prince of Peace said it, everyone’s jaw would drop. He elaborated, however, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give it to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you” (Jn 14:27).
United we stand, divided we fall
The truth of strength in unity resounds around. A slogan even read: TEAM – Together Each Achieves More. Correct! Together, we “encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Th 5:11). Nations rose or fell as they united or divided.
It, thus, happened that while Catholics and Protestants were intensely feuding over dogma and domain, unbelievers, hostile to both Christian believers, stealthily infiltrated and wrestled control of mass media and academia. These were institutions that Christians themselves established to enhance thinking. Nonbelievers went on to redirect these institutions into tools of thought control, spewing bias and lies to divide and dissipate whatever Christian influence was left.
Having infiltrated the judiciary in the same stealthily calculated coup, the well-organized unbelievers effectively muzzled the believers. The dictatorship of unbelievers has taken over!
United we fall, divided we stand
The unbeliever regime imposed a plan of peaceful co-existence within diversity and pluralism–disguised tactics of divide and dissipate. In the onset of a global community, unity in diversity is plausible. If, however, adversity is the price of unity, it fells believers. Such unity under adversity is divisive; such peaceful co-existence under diversity and pluralism is fatal. Paraphrasing then-president JFK, “Those who ride on the back of the tiger, end up inside the tiger.”
Early Christians endured the same things that Christians today endure: social ostracism, career marginalization, and financial bankruptcy. Despite those difficulties, St. Paul warned them from paying for the price of worldly peace–conformity and submission to an unbeliever doctrine.
“Bad company corrupts good morals” (1Cor 15:33). “Do not be yoked with those who are different, with unbelievers. For what partnership do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or, what fellowship does the light have with darkness? What accord has Christ with Beliar? Or, what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? … Come forth from them and be separate, says the Lord” (2 Cor 6:14-18).
United we revive, divided we survive
Saints Paul and Peter warned believers who carouse with unbelievers to learn from the past when unbelievers who imbibed unrighteousness were devastated (cf. 1Cor 10:1-12; 2 Pt 2:4-10). The call to neither associate with nor participate with unbelievers is a need to survive. Mistake not this move to a call to isolate from the wayward world; it is a call to insulate from it. How can that be done?
“Good fences make good neighbors.” With a bad fence, those who do not stand for any truth will fall for any lie. On the contrary, with a good fence, those who learn the fullness of truth in Christ will deter the folly of lies in antichrists. Thus, if believers emulate their predecessors, by living in a tightly knit community that supports one another, prays together, teaches each other, inspires each other, strengthens each other, and witness together, they could fence off strongly the plague of unrighteousness.
Indeed, despite the warnings of Peter and Paul against the danger of associating with unbelievers, Jesus still called believers to engage unbelievers… just as light engages darkness (Mt 5:14-16; cf. 28:18-20). “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; [but] be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves” (Mt 10:16).
The flickering light of a dispersed swarm of fireflies is diffused and lost in pitch darkness. The focused light of a united band of faithful believers, on the other hand, would disperse darkness.
Before Jesus left this world, He made them know His support. “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me,” He prayed, “so that they may be one just as we are. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth” (Jn 17:11, 15-17).
He summarized truth in the commandment of love. “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:34-35; Rom 13:9-10). According to St. John Paul II, the world listens more to witnesses than to preachers.
Christian love is the only bond that unites a widely diverse, even adverse, people. It outspeaks eloquence. It destroys argument. It shatters defenses, melts animosity, and opens hearts. It is so powerful it can even bond enemies together. It evokes trust like a lighthouse amidst the sea of darkness beacons groping ship to it. VSS
Picture credit: A real or fake danger? Picture by ultimate-animals.com through bing.com/images.