Polarised Positions

When we enter a polarised debate, where each side looks at the other as the enemy, then war can enter our hearts.

As for my companion, he betrayed his friends; he broke his promises.

Psalm 55:20

Polarisation can divide friends. We see someone who was once a companion in our pilgrimage with Jesus. For whatever reason we find ourselves on opposite sides accusing the other of breaking their commitments.

His words are as smooth as butter, but in his heart is war.

Psalm 55:21

Since the players are godly people, their words are smooth as butter. They try to behave themselves. But there is a problem – In each heart is war, and war seeps out. So, the words might be contained and measured, but ultimately the real intent will come out.

 His words are as soothing as lotion, but underneath are daggers!

When war is in the heart, no matter how reasoned what is spoken, it conceals a dagger and the intent is violence. A self-righteous urge to force the other to their side of the division.

When I find such thoughts coming into my mind (how embarrassing), I must recognise that I have made an idol of “my” side. I have made my position more important than the love of Jesus, who loves these people whom I find myself treating as enemies!

The Answer

Can we receive a challenge to our entire world view?

A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” 

Matthew 16:4

Pharisees considered themselves righteous. Paul said of himself, “As for legalistic righteousness [I was] faultless.” Jesus’ view of them as wicked and adulterous meant their view of life was fundamentally wrong.

We are adulterous when we follow a path other than Jesus. We are wicked when we are so sure of our path that we persuade others onto it. Pharisees elevated their reading of the Bible. What path do we elevate? Path to God? Environmental action? Political opinions? ..?

We know we are on an adulterous way when we catch ourselves denying compassion or honesty to those of an opposite persuasion. We know what the way is by the congratulations we embrace.

“Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Matthew 16:6

This is not just a personal quirk. Jesus says such influences are to be guarded against.

Given this context, Peter’s response to Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?” is extraordinary.

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Matthew 16:16

Peter is throwing away all credibility. This is an “All in” moment. Am I willing, at the cost of my credibility, to lift up Jesus as the only answer for the world’s problems?