The Divide

            In an earlier message I introduced you to Bob G.  He and his family left the small town Presbyterian church where my family attended, and the evidence of his Godly character made a favorable impression on me.  Bob was a farmer and a large man physically, but he came across quite meekly.  That doesn’t mean he was weak.  He had convictions and made them clear, though he was sometimes a little too apologetic in my opinion.  He had a big heart, but he was nobody’s fool.  You knew when he meant business.  I saw that when he sometimes scolded his kids.  He also knew the Bible amazingly well.  It was obvious that he did his own Bible study and took it seriously as part of his walk with the Lord.  He didn’t get that from the church he’d left, I can assure you of that.  I trusted his judgment concerning the things of the Lord.

            The night he and his family visited our family and invited us to attend the First Baptist Church in a neighboring town, I would have gone right then if the doors would have been open.  Bob shared I John 5:13 that night, which gave me the confidence I needed to know that I could truly be saved and know it.  Besides, I was hungry for the Word of God.  That’s a natural inclination for anyone who’s a new Christian.  While my parents had no desire to try another church, my dad said I could go with the G.s if they were willing to take me with them, since I couldn’t drive.  They were indeed gracious and faithful to pick me up twice a week for many months.

            I have a rebellious streak in me, and it was enflamed by what I heard at the Baptist church.  I was so zealous about what I was learning from God’s Word that Sunday dinners at home were often seasoned with heated arguments between me and my dad.  Prodding him about something as straightforward as whether he was really saved never brought a satisfactory answer.  He said he didn’t have to go to church three times a week to be close to “the Good Lord.”  He looked down on the G. family and others from that church.  Being  from the school of thought that said you shouldn’t talk about politics and religion, he disliked hearing them talk about the Lord or the Scriptures.  Besides, he said certain ones didn’t abide by such admonitions as not playing cards.

            None of that quenched my zeal.  All I wanted was something I’d never have–a dad who walked with the Lord, knew his Bible, and wasn’t ashamed to say so.  At least we weren’t quarrelling over things like drug use or promiscuous sex, since I didn’t do any of that.  Now that I’m older and see things with 20/20 hindsight, I wouldn’t have bothered to argue with him, knowing how fruitless it was to be.  In those days even Bob G. told me to tone it down.

            As a young man I was frustrated and perplexed.  Things shouldn’t be this way, should they?  Later I learned an astounding thing.  Jesus said in Matt. 10:34-36, “think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father,…And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”  In v. 37 He adds that anyone who loves their family more than Him is not worthy of Him.  Those are strong words.  Does that give us the right to be troublemakers?  No.  In Romans 12:18 Paul tells Christians, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you,  live peaceably with all men.”  However, if you and I are truly following Christ, one of the consequences is that there will be an ever present division between us and those who either aren’t saved or aren’t bearing fruit for Christ in their lives.

Explore posts in the same categories: Christian Life, Thoughts from John

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