*First published November 16, 2008
"Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. Matt 12:25
As our church is seeking a new Pastor, the interim Pastor shared this verse in the newsletter and I couldn't help but to think how appropriate it is in so many ways right now.
What a strong and valid warning Jesus gives us in this verse. The flip side of the verse is unity and peace.
Of course, our church will not grow if we are divided as we begin to come together to choose the Pastor which we will call. I know of a story of a church that was so divided over the like or dislike of a Pastor that it literally divided the church into two, forming a new church. However, now both churches stand alone, undivided, and have grown. In fact, the newer church is one of the largest in the city.
It is known that people never stay the same. They are always growing, learning who they are, and changing. Circumstances change people. We are never the same person that we were 10 years ago.
In a marriage, though, we have made a promise to God to love and cherish through good and through bad. As man and woman change over the years, they must grow together. They must work together to keep the household from becoming divided.
God is always working on us as He is never done with us. He wants us to change and grow closer to Him. However, He also wants us to work toward unity and peace in the communities in which we exist as we all change and grow closer to Him. This community could be an entire country, a city, a household, or other community in which we are a part of, such as organizations or groups of common interest. Of course, the ultimate community is God's Kingdom.
Yes, as in my example above, sometimes it is right for the divided to permanently divide and create a new community of unity and peace. We can see this as how He has blessed the two churches.
However, I feel God wants us to work on keeping unity and peace within a community as a way to grow ourselves without becoming permanently divided. If our country were to physically divide and form new countries every time it could not work through divisions of opinion, then we would be made up of a whole lot of very interesting little bitty countries, probably at war with each other. Are you visualizing with me how silly, awry, and out of order this would be?
There is a poem by Brian A. "Drew" Chalker, "People always come into your life for a reason, a season and a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do."
Matthew 12:25 is so appropriate for our country here in the United States to reflect upon. I believe with the advancement of the internet that people were able to be more aware and informed citizens in the recent election and, therefore, more people developed strong opinions of the candidate they would support. Now that the election is over, people still have strong support for their candidate and things feel divided to me. I have been encouraging people that we need to be unified as a country now and move forward together. I wish I had recalled this verse as I would have shared it too.
I see that this verse also applies to the common interest of many of the readers of this blog to digital scrapbooking. We often call it the "digi-world." However, the digi-world is made of of a lot of smaller communities (more like countries). Many of us travel around from digi-community to digi-community. We find communities in which we feel comfortable. Each community has its own personality and each person needs to find the niche where they feel they fit in. Once there, we need to work to develop the relationships and be unified.
A wonderful person recently told me that her daughter has been studying forum communities. Invariably, smaller groups of people with similar personalities always manage to form. These groups are seen as cliques. Unintentionally, these cliques begin to have so much fun with each other that they do not realize they are excluding others. Often, there are several small cliques which are separated.
It reminds me of high school. I could never be in one of the cliques. I was always considered a "nobody." I liked to see myself as someone who accepted all types of people and never fit into any one mold. I never felt unaccepted by these groups of people. They were never mean to me. Everyone would always talk to me. I just never grew a close bond with one or another of the groups of personalities. I actually had no desire to. It was easier to stand on the outside and watch the drama going on within the cliques from my perspective.
When I started my forum, I prayed, and continue to pray, that cliques will not form and that all will feel welcomed into the community. I want it to be a site that focuses on learning, scrapping, preserving memories, and inspiring each other to be creative. I want this for everyone who visits the site and for all to feel comfortable posting and contributing to the community in these ways.
I went to dig up my own words and prayer that I had written into the forum.
"I think it is wonderful how so many of us feel a friendship around here after only a few short months. I can only pray that we will continue to widen our circle of friendships to bring more people into the circle, rather than to come across as a closed circle clique. I have confidence in each and every one of you here---I think you've got the heart to make my prayers happen."
I continue to see digital scrapping sites and communities open, only soon to close. The community developing here will not be able to stand either if it becomes divided. I pray that everyone will keep in focus the goals and purposes I have for the site.
I want it to be a place where people participate in the challenges as inspiration to get layouts done, encourage each other to learn new things, share layouts to inspire each other, promote creativity and provide an outlet, and most of all, to have an end result of layouts to leave behind as a treasure for future generations.