Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Random Thoughts on Divisions

Ok...this one's been rolling around in my brain for awhile. I think I'm ready to put my thoughts down in writing. Please pardon me if it's a little rough. It's just my thoughts...

It seems to me that if you were to put a group of people together over a length of time, a couple of things would happen. It wouldn't take you very long to identify the introverts and extroverts. Some would lead, some would follow, some would try to help everyone they could, some would pout, and some would gripe and complain. Eventually there would be those who would form a sort of "us against them" atmosphere and would line up a team of followers.

According to John Maxwell, in his book, 25 Ways to Win With People, there are 4 types of people:

*Those who add (this is an intentional act) They add to your life. They add to the group. They add to the workplace. They go the extra-mile, it seems, in whatever situation they're in.
*Those who subtract. They take away. Every meet anyone who just drained you?? Perhaps we are all a subtractor to someone at some point in our lives.
*Those who multiply. They draw people. If you're running a volunteer organization, you love these people. They know how to get others on board.
*And lastly, those who divide. (And according to Maxwell, this is almost always an intentional act.)

God has some very strong words about those who cause division. It's found in Romans 16:17-19 (Amplified Bible)
17: I appeal to you, brethren, to be on your guard concerning those who create dissensions and difficulties and cause divisions, in opposition to the doctrine (the teaching) which you have been taught. [I warn you to turn aside from them, to] avoid them.
18: For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites and base desires, and by ingratiating and flattering speech, they beguile the hearts of the unsuspecting and simpleminded [people].

I've grown up in the church. I don't claim to know everything or be an expert in anything. But when you've been involved in something for a number of years, you begin to see things and notice patterns. I've seen those who divide. Have I ever been one? Ashamedly? Yes. I have. I'm embarrassed and humbled to admit it. I have sought forgiveness and continually try my best to be on-guard so I do not cause any sort of division. I'm sure I do stumble from time-to-time. Some, however, do not change their ways. They continue to divide and draw people to themselves until an almost literal line is drawn in the sand. And all the while, you can almost hear Satan laughing his head off. Because while we're so busy focusing on lines and teams and what belongs to whom, we're not focusing on what's really important. I've seen it happen in the local church and I see it happening all the time within the large Body of Christ. I will not even begin to mention "lines" because I'm not writing to promote controversy or draw more lines. My attempt here is to raise some awareness of how powerful and damaging division can be. It is deep and wide. And sadly, I have seen lives ruined because of it.

Maybe it's my age but I won't play these games anymore. There's too many more important things.

Matthew 12:25 (Amplified Bible)
25: And knowing their thoughts, He said to them, Any kingdom that is divided against itself is being brought to desolation and laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will last or continue to stand.


Tracy said...


Anonymous said...

Hi Rebecca,

WOW! I am so happy you posted on this...I am like so going to read that book for Gretchen's challenge, and hopefully use it in a staff meeting soon. Not everyone I work with is a Christian, but it's amazing how he says that the people who add and subtract are doing it intentionally. Whew! It's easy to see where others fit, but where do we fit too? Great post.

Thanks, Anna

nannykim said...

hmmm, add, subtract, multiply, divide. Guess there is some truth in all of that. I know some who are great with the multiply and some who are great with the divide. Yup, and I know those who add. Guess I find less of the subtract type--there are some, but you really have to get to know someone in a deeper way for them to be a subtractor in your life. Interesting post.