The enemy is out to cause deception and division. These are his two main strategies:
Mark 3:24-25 (NKJV) If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. (25) And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
- The devil causes division by highlighting differences and perspectives causing hate based on those differences.
2 Corinthians 2:11 (NKJV) lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Here are the devices that he uses and their progression:
- Prejudice: an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.
Everyone is guilty of this.
Luke 6:37-38 (NKJV) “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (38) Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
“Judge” (Greek: “krino”) to try someone (as in a court), render a verdict, condemn, and punish them, all in your mind or heart.
- We ARE NOT allowed to judge the content of anyone’s heart by what we see on the outside. That is the way of man and not God.
1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT) But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
- We can examine fruit but in the right context.
Matthew 7:15-20 (TPT) “Constantly be on your guard against phony prophets. They come disguised as lambs, appearing to be genuine, but on the inside they are like wild, ravenous wolves! (16) You can spot them by their actions, for the fruits of their character will be obvious. You won’t find sweet grapes hanging on a thorn bush, and you’ll never pick good fruit from a tumbleweed. (17) (17-19) So if the tree is good, it will produce good fruit; but if the tree is bad, it will bear only rotten fruit and it deserves to be cut down and burned. (20) Look at the obvious fruit of their lives and ministries, and then you’ll know whether they are true or false.”
In the context of these verses, Jesus gives us permission to examine the fruit that someone produces and make a decision as to whether we allow them to “speak” into their lives or allow our lives to become intertwined with theirs in close relationship.
I believe this is what Dr. King was referring to in his famous “I Have Dream Speech”:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character…”
- Discrimination: – treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction for or against, a person based on the group, class, or category to which that person belongs rather than on individual merit. (Prejudice in action)
Everyone is guilty of this!
Example of discrimination outside of race:
We have been doing this in the church for years. This is the basis on which a lot of our denominations are based on.
We Charismatic, Holy Ghost filled, tongue-talkers have been guilty of looking down on our denominational brothers and sisters as “less than” Christians because they don’t believe exactly like us.
This is a grave mistake. We need to learn to fellowship with anyone around Salvation and the Word of God.
- Racism: when prejudice and discrimination are supported and backed by laws; leads to hatred based on prejudice and discrimination.
We must change the laws to eliminate racism and truly make all men equal in the sight of the law.
What do we need to do?
Luke 10:25-37 (NLT) One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” (26) Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” (27) The man answered, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (28) “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” (29) The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (30) Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. (31) “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. (32) A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. (33) “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. (34) Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. (35) The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ (36) “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. (37) The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
“Neighbor” (Greek: “plesion”) – the one closest to him, someone similar, an equal
- Get out of your comfort zone and place yourself in someone’s pain.
Luke 10:33 (NLT) “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.
Compassion – Greek – a yearning in his bowels, feel deeply, to feel something viscerally
- Be willing to sacrifice your agenda and plans in order to help someone who is hurting.
Luke 10:34 (NLT) Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.
Understand this: To choose not to press your opinion does not invalidate your opinion or position.
There is a time to say some things and a time to not and instead jump in and help.
Luke 6:38 (NKJV) Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
What you lay down at the moment to do right will come back to you.
- Do something.
Compassion always moves to action. Otherwise it is just sympathy.
- Ask yourself, “Am I part of the problem?”
- Have some uncomfortable conversations.
- Reach out to someone who does not look like you and show them unconditional love, the God-kind of love.