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Are you a victim of "divide and conquer"?

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Everybody is a victim of a "divide and conquer" strategy. Often, we do not realize it because we are too close to the emotion and postured wrangling of charges and counter charges, of arguments and personal attacks. This can take place in a home, a church, corporation or business, or on a national or international scale. What can we do?

Unity is a wonderful thing. With it often comes peace and happiness. There is a singleness of purpose and all parts work together toward a common goal. At the level of the home, the husband and wife work together in love and harmony to build their marriage and family. In a church, all of the members are working together for the common goals and purposes of the church. In a business, the owners and employees work together to achieve business success, and a nation works together for the common interests of the nation.

Sadly, all too often, there is not complete unity. Differences of opinions on various issues begin to cause division. Sometimes the differences can be resolved and unity can be restored. But sometimes the two (or more) opposing sides are too entrenched in their position and cannot compromise their principles. Unity is gone and division occurs, followed by separation. The marriage and home is divided. The church is split. The business fails. The nation falls.

Abraham Lincoln gave a speech in 1858 that became famous. He was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate from Illinois. He challenged Stephen Douglas, his Democrat opponent, to a series of debates about the slavery issue and whether to admit Kansas into the union as a slave state. Mr. Lincoln said, "In my opinion, it (slavery agitation) will not cease until a crises shall have been reached and passed. 'A house divided against itself cannot stand.' I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other." Mr. Lincoln quoted from Matthew 12:25: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand." While Mr. Lincoln did not believe the Union would be dissolved over the issue, it eventually divided, leading to the War Between the States, during his presidency.

Often, the division is not just an accidental occurrence but results from a deliberate tactic known as "divide and conquer." It is a well-known strategy in politics, business and war—divide and conquer the enemy, whether a competing business or another nation. The object is to tear down, harm, defeat and destroy. It yields the negative, ugly and bitter fruit of a wrong way.

A true follower of Christ does not engage in the "politics of personal destruction," as is the popular political phrase. Instead of seeking to tear down and harm someone else, a true Christian will seek to build up. A true Christian will "put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do"(Colossians 3:12–13).

True unity can only come when we all are "one body" and all have "one spirit." This is discussed in 1 Corinthians 12. This is immediately followed by the "Love Chapter" (1 Corinthians 13), which describes charity or love as not seeking its own, not being easily provoked, not thinking evil. This is how to defeat the "divide and conquer" strategy and be a true Christian. Order your free copy ofWhat Is a True Christian? today!

  Originally Published: 20th January 2011