Scripture Focus: Matthew 12:25, 36-37
25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand…
36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
8 So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”
Reflection: Divide et Impera
By John Tillman
Speaking of the impossibility of driving out demons by the power of demons, Jesus says “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined.” (Matthew 12.25) The word translated ruined is also used by Jesus in his prophecy of the destruction of the city of Jerusalem. (Luke 21.20) It refers to destruction, being deserted, or desolation.
In the wake of the attack on the Capitol, American citizens and the world now have images in their heads of the consequences of a kingdom divided against itself that will be a part of history books for generations to come. A mirrored corollary of Jesus’ statement is the Latin phrase that began to appear often in the writings of the colonial period of the 1600s, Divide et impera (“divide and rule”). We know this maxim today as “divide and conquer.”
There are both earthly and spiritual emperors who wish to divide and rule over us through the use of division and conspiracy. Enemies without are not as useful to emperors as enemies within. They want us to suspect and turn on each other.
Christians should be especially wary of shadowy, unknown “emperors” sowing division such as the mysterious, unidentified founder of QAnon. We should also be wary of popular leaders spreading this unknown manipulator’s messages. Truth-denying conspiracy theories such as QAnon lead Christians away from the concept of absolute truth and toward division and radicalization.
If nations or the Church allow ourselves to be divided, we will be conquered. Yet, we cannot be unified without the truth. When Christians participate in lies, we stain the gospel with falsity.
Let us pray (based on Matthew 12.31-36) that as we seek unity we will stand for truth.
Lord, you told us that every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
Help us, Lord, to be made into good trees with good fruit of righteousness.
May our mouths speak good out of the good stored up us
May we speak the truth. May we hesitate to share the uncertain. May we refuse to participate in falsehood.
We know we will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word we have spoken, so fill our words with your truth and your love.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
God has gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of the ram’s horn.
Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is King of all the earth; sing praises with all your skill.
God reigns over the nations; God sits upon his holy throne. — Psalm 47.5-8
– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle
Genesis 13 (Listen – 2:16)
Matthew 12 (Listen – 6:41)
Read more about Good and Pleasant Unity?
Change our hearts, Lord. Arouse our compassion. Help us abandon anger.
Read more about Honoring The Truth
Seeking the truth is not only a spiritual quest. It is sometimes a civic one. Or a legal one.