Divided States of America

As I write, it seems certain that Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States.

Divided States of America

President of the United States? Is this accurate? Are they united? In name, yes; In constitutional structure, yes; but certainly not in ideology or worldview, “the soul of the nation”, as the Biden campaign put it. This is evidenced in the fervour that continues to swirl on social media. Claims of corruption and counter-claims of insanity fuel the competing narratives. Whoever is eventually sworn in come January will be known as President of the United States, but the sad reality is he will be the leader of the Divided States of America.

The two sides have set their hearts on two very different paths; two very different ideas of what their nation should look like; two very different visions of the future, and neither side is going to be easily swayed, for these are not just ideas, but convictions – beliefs – and because of that many are willing to invest so much of their lives for the cause, but to what end? Utopia? Perhaps not. It may be that all that is desired is the freedom to pursue their own personal, yet divergent dreams – dreams that could only be pursued in a free country like America. It should therefore not surprise us to find division in the “Land of the Free”.

To eliminate division, is to eliminate freedom. To allow for freedom of choice, is to allow for a divided society, and as we look upon the divided landscape of American society, we wonder what the future holds. Is reconciliation possible? Is there a hope of healing? The answer is emphatically yes, but that healing and reconciliation will only happen when people turn to and treasure the truth. This is the case not only in the social sphere, but also in the underlying spiritual realm. 

The reason we seek for and value freedom, is because our Creator, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is a God of freedom. While the Bible clearly states that the path to reconciliation is through Jesus Christ, who said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6), no one is forced to come to Him. We are given the freedom to choose, and with this choice comes potential division, not just between ourselves (Matthew 10:35), but ultimately between us and God.

The fact is that we all have before us two very different paths; two very different visions of the future. The question is this: will it be God’s way or my way? Am I willing to confess my sin and own Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, or do I want to be master of my own destiny?

Before you answer that question, let me remind you of an ancient proverb. It says, “there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 16:25). Knowing this, Jesus Christ urged his hearers to “enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it, because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13,14).

Let us be clear that, in this spiritual realm, the choices we make in life have eternal consequences. It is one thing to be divided from God and man in this life. While we live, reconciliation is always possible. However, if we never take up this opportunity for reconciliation through Christ Jesus, and die with our sins unforgiven, those divisions become permanent. Consider the tragic fate of the rich man of Luke 16, who “died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades” (v.23), he cried for mercy. To him the answer came that no mercy was possible for “between us and you there is a great gulf fixed” (v.26). He lived for himself and for this life only, and lost everything. 

What is your choice? On which side of the eternal divide will you be found?