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  • Writer's pictureJohn Whitehead

Divided by Choice

Division and divisiveness are at the forefront of many of the issues we face today. This is easily seen as people are constantly reminded, they are different and are being overlooked or disrespected because of those differences.

This tactic is constant and unrelenting. The irony is, we are all different and being different does not have to be divisive. Or does it?

It may surprise some, but man has set himself apart from others in a myriad of ways since the beginning of time. Race, gender, religion, socioeconomics, politics, and life in general have resulted in a division that is both natural and normal.

Though this is historically accurate, today separating oneself for any reason is seen as a form of hatred, or at the very least, a cause of dissention. In fact, we are being told, division is anything but natural or normal.

Yet, while the division we see all around us is focused and purposeful, being “divided by choice” is unacceptable and intolerable. The problem with this is we are denying the possibility people are separating themselves by choice.

If they do, does this mean they hate or despise people who are different? Perhaps some do, but for most, it simply means they are more comfortable around people like themselves.

The question is, should this be allowed? Should people who choose to separate themselves from others be tolerated? As much as it may affect the sensibilities of some, the answer to these questions is yes, we know this is true because we all do it all the time.

Does this mean we should hate those we are separated from. No, in fact, I believe loving one another is a better way. This is true no matter how someone may look, think, or act.

You might ask, how is it possible to be divided and not hate one another? It is possible because sometimes we are “divided by choice”. In most cases, the choice is not because we are against anything or anyone. It is because we are more comfortable with those who are in a similar place in life as we are.

Does this mean we should exclude others because of race, gender, religion, socioeconomic position, politics, or life in general? Absolutely not. In fact, I submit if someone shares similar values as we do, it is highly unlikely we will exclude them for any of those reasons.

Why? The answer is simple. If we are “divided by choice”, will we choose to be around those who share our world view, and they will choose to be around us.

The question is, how or why is this bad? I suppose the answer is, it just looks and sounds bad, and perception is reality, isn’t it?

In a world where division is required, it is fascinating how being “divided by choice” cannot be tolerated.

This causes me to wonder, does unity mean we cannot be divided by choice? If so, I am afraid unity may not be possible.

Regardless of your perspective on division, there is one who unites us all. His name is Jesus. He is the great UNIFIER!

Ephesians 4:1-3, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

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