We adore being lied to. Well, as long as it’s the lies we want. I’ll admit that we’ve certainly become a jaded culture. It wasn’t that long ago that we trusted every word that came out of the mouths of newscasters. We believed our government would do the best thing for its citizens. Yeah, we were aware that advertisers were trying to sell us their doodads, but we would have been shocked to imagine one of them might poison us for a few extra pennies. But, in a way, we’re over that now. Not that we’ve become wiser, just bitter. Our trust is smaller now: in specific denominations, and political parties. We’re still apt to fall for almost anything, it’s just gotta come from the right mouthpiece.
A recent study revealed that facts simply don’t change people’s minds on big issues. That’s not much of a reveal though. It’s human nature to tend to process facts to conform to our pre-existing ideas. As I said, we love to be lied to. Why? We hate to be wrong, and we despise the thought of change. My worldview is the basis for every decision I’ve made up until this point. It is how I see life. To question that, even in a small way, is to not only admit I made a mistake, but that my whole life might be a mistake.
That’s the way of the world. But it isn’t some new phenomena. It’s been going on since the serpent first enticed Eve with his sophistry.
This is why otherwise smart people can say stupid things. (And the things half of us are thinking of as an example of something stupid are something the other half probably see as an example of something smart!) This sin nature is a frustrating thing. It’s why Paul was always calling Christians out for their disunity, and why Jesus’ prayer for unity must have been a prayer for supernatural intervention. Only the Spirit in us can create such a thing.
But that’s exactly what God does. Paul says that we are dead to sin (Rom. 6). Our natural (sinful) state is to be a slave to sin’s whims, but the new creation we become in Christ has a heart that actually yearns after the ways of God. That’s a miracle. A legitimate miracle.
While we’re still apt to grieve the Spirit by doing things the world’s ways—going back to those patterns and habits that were natural to our old selves—we now have heart’s that, more and more, want to do God’s will. In the same way, we are capable of defending ourselves in petty differences, saying with the church in 1 Cor. 1:12, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ” (or Calvin, or Luther, or… that Methodist guy.)
“Is Christ divided?” (v. 13a).
Our unity is supernatural. It is Spirit-borne. Our denominational differences may be important to us, but nothing should divide us so that we spurn anyone who names the Name of Christ. As that Methodist guy said, “If your heart is as my heart, give me your hand.”