Going Deeper 06.04.2021

The Gospel reading for Pentecost 2... Mark 3:20-35
And the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered. “Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.” Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

It would seem that our proclivity for demonizing those with whom we are in conflict goes back a long way... although it turns out that Eve's enemy was in truth the devil.  But here we see it to the ultimate extreme.  The religious leaders are labeling the very Son of God as being demon-possessed.

Sin clearly does divide.  And Jesus here points to the danger of divisions: "If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand."  Uh oh!  I find it rather frightening to think of the ramifications of this for the world, for our nation, and for God's church.  Division is a very real and present danger.

As I overheard a very political conversation the other day, I couldn't help but remember a joke I heard a long time ago: "Opinions are like armpits-- everybody has some, and often they stink!"  Yep... even mine!  Yet we often hold on to our opinions so tightly that they become more important than relationships.  We divide and attack those with whom we disagree, sometimes even members of our own families and congregations.  And somewhere Satan is smiling while tears run down our Savior's cheeks.

There are two cures for this.  One is humility... and it must come first.  When we come to realize that there is no way we are right about everything, and that our opinions are formed and fed by influencers who are often themselves misguided, we tend to become more gentle in our conversations and more gracious toward those with whom we disagree.  And the second cure is love.  When we truly love someone in the ways Jesus did, even if/when they are wrong our motive will be to do everything within our power to not allow that to destroy our relationship... even when it becomes necessary to practice tough love.  (Remember, some of the religious leaders of Jesus' day become His followers!)

Let's turn the phrase "Let's agree to disagree" into a principle we practice... before it's too late.

In His Love,

 

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"