One of the strongest insults in the Bible come from Isaiah today. He calls the people of Israel princes of Sodom and people of Gomorrah. Sodom and Gomorrah had been destroyed hundreds of years earlier. All people knew they were destroyed because of their sins against God and humanity. So to be called a prince or a people from these places obviously is an insult. And it would have made many people angry. These statements would have definitely caused division.
Perhaps that is the connection with the Gospel. Jesus tells his disciples that he comes to create division. It is a message many people struggle with these days. Why would a God of love and peace come to create division? It is hard to understand. But to truly understand this teaching we do not need to look too far. Probably not even past our families. Most people would readily admit that there are members of their families who are not solid in their faith. Or maybe no faith at all. How can two members of a family be raised by the same parents end up at different spectrums of belief?
Ever watch two children playing and suddenly peace is broken, and war breaks out. And at some point, a parent steps in and says you go to this corner and you go to that corner. Something created the division. Children cannot often verbalize why they are so upset. But as adults we can. Perhaps this adds to the difficulty. See, as Christians, we want to share the love of God with all people. Sometimes we mistakenly think all we have to do is tell others how wonderful God is and they will believe, and we will have peace. Maybe, once in awhile this will work. Most of the time, just as people did with Jesus, they will walk away. They rejected Jesus. If people reject Jesus why would you be upset if people reject you?
Division of this type I thinks teaches us a lesson. We are not the greatest evangelizers in the world. When we attempt to share God with others and are rejected what is our reaction? Perhaps most people will make a judgement of that person, which they have no right doing. We really need to look at ourselves first and judge ourselves. Did we really love the other person? Or were we seeking glory ourselves for spreading God’s word. If the latter, let me assure you if you are not sincere and loving people can intuitively pick up on this. They do not want to be another notch in your belt.
Often sharing the faith means being a friend for months or years before a dialogue about God can occur. People want to see God in you. They want to see Jesus working in you. If they cannot then we need to take a long look at who we are. Can we see God working in us? Can we see Jesus working in us?
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen