There’s been a lot of discussion in my household lately. I’m counting myself fortunate because my husband is an awesome man will put up with me needing to say things out loud until they make sense. He can reason well and is willing to walk down hard conversational roads as we sort through the things we know from Scripture, what we been taught, and what we’ve learned from just plain living.
We talk and talk and talk as we drive to soccer tournaments, as we walk to get the mail together. We talk as we set up a temporary goat barn for our daughter’s 4H projects, as we start the horrendously long process of weeding the garden and prepping it for summer growth. We wrestle through comments that have been made to me lately in person, online, or via text messages. We sort through the ideas and the research. Bless this man and thank you, Lord, for bringing us together!
One comment that keeps coming up in our conversation is that I have been repeatedly called “divisive.”
When I was first called divisive I was truly hurt. “Divisive” has an ugly connotation and I have spent the years being supportive and a builder of programs. It felt like I was maligned and misunderstood.
So my main man and I, we talked about that divisive word. I stewed and pondered. My husband, though, he went straight to Scripture and told me: “Truth is divisive. It’s intended to be that way because deception is often so close to the truth that people get fooled.”
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:12, 13
The truth is designed to be divisive. It is not comfortable.
But, I argued with him, aren’t we also called to live at peace with other believers when at all possible?
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Romans 12: 18, 19
“Are you trying to take revenge? Or are you trying to identify and reveal truth?’ he asked me.
Yesterday I wrote a blog post about the amount of liability that I and my friends have taken on in pursuit of serving a community of home educators. One friend texted me, “I just read the post about Liability and I think I pooped my pants a little. How did I not know this was a thing?!” Another person messaged me and said, “Please, you need to stop posting all of this dirty laundry. It’s divisive and unbecoming of a Christian, you’re only making yourself look bad.”
Here’s the deal. I haven’t been at the table with the main decision makers to discuss the nuances of specific policies and how they play out within liability and such. So I might very well be wrong! If I’m wrong, I’m not at all scared to say I’ve messed up and do everything in my power to correct it.
But what I can say is that when things are hidden, when there are half truths or not the full story, it is a sign of deception. Deception is not a tool of the Holy Spirit and half-truths insult the listener as much as a full on intentional lie.
Deception is designed to be comfortable and alluring. It poo-poos concerns and casts aspersions on the character and sanity of the one asking questions.
I live in an area where there are cults everywhere. I grew up literally three houses down from a cult that believes in communal living and that their leader has been reincarnated throughout the ages as various famous people from Alexander the Great to the Apostle Paul. These folks show up at every garage sale in the neighborhood.
My hometown is filled with folks who drop by in droves to have their aura read, visit the vortex, and check their produce in the grocery store with magical crystals to be certain their energy is in alignment.
You think I’m kidding. I’m really not.
So perhaps because of growing up in an area clearly rife with people who have been deceived, maybe I’m a little more comfortable with trying to discern truth and taking the time to sort through the marketing ploys to find the kernels of real. I don’t know.
But I do know I have intentionally chosen the classical model so that my children and I can learn how to ask hard questions in pursuit of the Truth and wrestle with big ideas. To do less than that is to refuse to utilize all of the tools the Lord has given us.
In the past few weeks, my intent in speaking up is not to do anything except reveal what has been explained to me as a half truth and figure out the whole truth. I’m not trying to be divisive or destructive.
(If you went and talked to any of my previous employers you would find I have a track record of trying to preserve the current establishment and fix the problems rather than tear everything down and start from scratch.)
(I guess you could say I’m better at a remodel than a new build.)
(They also would say that I’m a really difficult person to manage because I ask a lot of questions so that I understand the why of something. Once I understand the why, however, I’m extraordinarily loyal.)
(And because I know this is a question from the naysayers, I tried to speak to people privately. Yes. Repeatedly. Without success in the last year because people were too busy. And, honestly, probably with less success now because I’m being labeled a “tool of Satan” and “contentious.”)
So be it.
When I’m told that I just don’t understand the whole story, in the absence of any other details, it’s in my nature to attempt to figure out the whole story using the tools I have at my disposal. I am trained as a journalist. I learned how to research and use public records. I investigate, I interview, I try to connect the dots and figure out the timelines because I know that we rarely experience events in isolation.
When that investigation results in new information that I hadn’t realized – common practices put my family at risk and that I have personally promoted over the years… I feel compelled to share with others that this is a THING so that they can learn from my mistakes.
That is a working result of repentance.
That is loving my neighbors as myself.
And, when that comes out in opposition to others, it feels really divisive. I get that and I’m genuinely sorry for “rattling the gates of Hell” as one person sent me in a message.
But here’s the deal: Would you rather be uncomfortable and have wisdom? Or comfortable and at risk?