I wrote much of this blog in 2016, little knowing what our world would look like in 2022.
A political spirit and a religious spirit are working in tandem to bring increasing division in the world at large, including the church.
In C. S. Lewis’s brilliant allegory, the “Voyage of the Dawntreader”, the author speaks of this tactic of the enemy. The children stumble across a lake that turns anything to gold when that item dips into its waters. Caspian and Edmund throw around their ‘position and status’ in Narnia to claim their rights. Caspian is ready to fight over the rights to the lake; his hand rests on his sword’s hilt. Lucy suddenly sees Aslan and calls out. All the children turn and watch as the lion walks across a ridge close to them. He says nothing – but whatever spell they were under is broken as their gaze rests on Aslan, the Christ figure.
The same spirit that CS Lewis addressed in the “Voyage of the Dawntreader” dwells in many churches. This spirit is not just about what political party or theological leanings people might have. No, this spirit not only wants to bring division, but it also wants to destroy.
When the children gazed down into that lake’s depths, they saw what happened to someone who dived into greed and the lust for power and control. What first appeared to them as a golden masterpiece became a horror to them, and they recoiled. They realized greed and the thirst for potentially unlimited power had consumed a poor lost soul.
I have sensed a controlling spirit more than once as otherwise level-headed people discuss politics or doctrine in Social Media and over casual coffee with friends. Anger, control, and accusations spring up suddenly. We have given this spirit far too much permission to operate in the church, our workplaces and our homes.
Most of my friends and family would say that I am naturally a pretty easy-going person. I am not easily riled up to anger. And yet, I have had to battle against the temptation to fall into its spell occasionally.
Why is this spirit so strong? We have given it fuel. The only way to starve it is by walking in the opposite spirit.
What is fueling your feud? Have you fallen under the influence of a political spirit that brings division and destroys relationships?
The following may seem like a far-fetched analogy, but I can’t help but think of an episode in the original Star Trek series. The Klingons and the Enterprise crew were locked in a never-ending battle. A Klingon woman saw what was happening. An alien life force was feeding on antagonism and was orchestrating the whole scenario.
She finally convinced the powers-that-be that the only way to end the battle was to call a truce and take it a step further. They responded in the opposite spirit. They all laughed, making a great show of camaraderie. The alien life force disappeared. Although the Klingons and the crew battled each other in later episodes, in this one episode, they laid aside their differences to defeat a foe they could never defeat on their own.
Step back and assess the situation when a vehement reaction rises within you that wants to argue over politics or doctrine. Ask yourself, why is your emotional response so strong? Sidestep the blow when otherwise level-headed and non-aggressive friends or family members come against you in a verbal attack. Refrain from reacting in kind to the assault.
Focus your attention on what brings you together. Consider changing the subject by talking about what God is doing in your midst. Bring out the gold in the other person by pointing out the good in them! A great way to do this is to ask God this question: “How do you see this person?” Then speak to that person in the light that God sees them. Resist flattery, but speak to the good! If emotions still run high, close the conversation by respectfully suggesting a cooling-off time out might be a good idea. Never place a greater value on being right than keeping a relationship intact.