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A Meek Spirit Listens

The Voice of Zion April 2024 - Editorial --

At times it seems that our society is becoming more polarized. Articles discuss how this issue affects nations here and abroad, and these discussions are supported by polls. Elected officials berate one another, view the other party as an enemy force and even ridicule those in their own party who cross the aisle to create some bipartisan legislation or speak kindly of another. Like our fellow citizens, we are each impacted by this environment. Political division may cause people to forget the biblical teaching to remain meek in spirit. Because of this division, some believers wish to avoid mentioning any topic deemed “political.”

The question then becomes what is political and what is not. When factions – even among believers – become polarized, it seems that more and more topics are viewed as political. The political viewpoint overshadows deeper discussion. As a result, those complex issues are ultimately reduced to simplified slogans or buzzwords. One faction can feel threatened by the other’s speech. Silence follows, but silence does not resolve the breach. Instead, the gulf between people can grow to the point that it can no longer be bridged. They find nothing in common to converse about. 

Each of us has sometime judged people based on appearance or other perceptions, such as age, size or clothing. Believers may begin to see each other also through the lens of politics rather than as dear brothers and sisters in faith. Even discussions of faith may become fewer and difficult. If this happens, believers no longer put the best construction on what others say. And if continued, even the congregation may become a body divided into political camps.

The Bible is clear about remaining likeminded and esteeming others (Phil. 2:2–4, et al.). The greatest commandment is to love God, and to love thy neighbor as thyself (Matt. 22:37–40). If believers begin to view each other through the lens of ideological stances rather than through the eyes of faith, the beauty of God’s kingdom can be lost. Love, the marker of God’s kingdom is diminished. The enemy has divided the believers and has been able to break the bond of love between them. Polarization aids the enemy, and the greatest harm the adversary can cause is to obscure the vision of shared faith and its goal, which can result in the loss of personal faith.

In essence, we can view this polarization as a lack of communication. Silence makes us feel like we are no longer one group, one nation. It’s hard to align shared values without any discussion. When we don’t listen to others, we can only assume what they think and feel. These phenomena can affect God’s congregation, leading to distrust and weakening of bonds, which can severely wound the body of Christ.

God’s Word teaches that spiritual unity is a gift of the Holy Spirit. We can pray for humility and grace so that the one-mindedness of the congregation would be preserved. A spirit of meekness is one that desires to listen, one that will tolerate and forbear another’s viewpoint. Meekness allows other people to state their thinking and explain how they came to a conclusion. Sometimes, in meekness, the believer finds it difficult to understand another’s viewpoint, but they ask questions and seek first to understand then to be understood. In meekness also people approach situations in which topics with a political aspect need to be discussed in God’s kingdom. This is the humility in which the believer prays for the leaders of their country and prays for continued governance and policy that supports preaching and hearing of God’s Word.

Our mutual goal of everlasting life is much greater than any earthly issues over which we may be divided. No temporal matters are worth more than the crown of life. In heaven, there is only accord. There, in unison, we will join voices in eternal praise.  

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