These days it seems that many leading voices in America are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It’s as if fear and division are hot commodities. We hear this dual message continually from the media and various politicians. It’s also subtly woven into much of what we listen to and watch. We need to discern when we’re being fed a steady diet of fear and division, and recognize how it can affect us.
As of this writing, Covid-19 cases in America are down by 77% from the peak in early January. Instead of celebrating this fact, many of our politicians warn that variants could cause another spike. Instead of looking for hope they constantly remind us that defeat could be just around the corner. Why? Well, people are more controllable when they are extremely fearful. So, fearmongering makes those in power even more powerful.
Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be concerned about getting the virus. Healthy fear balances caution and common sense. But fear takes control when we allow it to become the loudest voice in our heads. Christians have been set free from the prison of fear. When our thoughts and emotions are under the control of the Holy Spirit, we look to God—not to the statehouse or the White House.
Focusing on Division
Race relations is another example. During my lifetime we’ve seen incredible progress in overcoming this issue. In the last decade alone, our nation twice elected an African American president. And we now have the first African American and Asian American vice president. I don’t have to agree with their policies in order to appreciate their achievements. But the voices of division seldom acknowledge our country’s progress in the battle to overcome racism. Why? Racial division serves a set political objective and cultural agenda.
Does racism still exist in America? Of course it does. However, those who know Jesus also know that any form of racism is sinful and should never be tolerated. The body of Christ is diverse, but diversity doesn’t automatically mean division. What believers of every skin color share in common is greater than our differences. In other words, biblical unity is colorblind.
Fear and Division versus Victory and Freedom
Fear and division are often two sides of the same coin. Both promote despair, depression, and hopelessness. Victory and freedom also go hand-in-hand. When a culture values character and courage, its people are hopeful. They are inspired to attempt the impossible, which leads to great achievement.
But fear and division can only truly be conquered by the victory and freedom found in Jesus Christ. And because His victory is eternal, it’s not influenced by current politics or culture. His victory over the grave frees us from the sting of death. So, we are controlled—not by fear—but by the Spirit. His love empowers us to love as He loved. So, we promote peace and unity rather than contribute to division. As a believer, living any other way is just snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.