By: Zach Collins
Abraham Lincoln once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” He delivered these memorable words before the Illinois State Republican delegation in 1858, after they had chosen him as their candidate to run for the U.S. Senate.
At the time, his vision was not received well. Some deemed his speech too politically radical for the time, while others argued that his vision was morally courageous, yet politically unattainable. In other words, it was a dream that could never come to fruition, given the political climate of the times. As a result of this speech, Lincoln would lose the senate election to Stephen Douglas, the same senator whom Lincoln would defeat, two years later, in the Presidential election of 1860. Not so long after, William H. Herndon, the law partner of Abraham Lincoln, said, in summation, the speech did awaken the people, and despite Lincoln’s defeat, he thought the speech made him President. This is the same President that would lead our country through the toughest time within our history, a time of great discord and disunity. He did this by unifying a dissented country under one theme, the hope of a better future for America.
Yet, this reference wasn’t Lincoln’s own reference, he derived inspiration from the words of Jesus within the Bible. This reference is present in all three of the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In Mark 3:25, in speaking to the scribes who had criticized him, Jesus says, “And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” This speaks to the importance of unity within Christianity and all of the aspects that encompass our Faith. In summation, Jesus says, if you are not united in all things as my Children, my house will not stand. It is our job, as Christians, to ensure the continuity of the House of the Lord, along with the convictions, ideas, and founding principles put forth in His inspired word. In Ephesians 4:4, Paul writes, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling.” Paul doesn’t say two bodies, or three spirits, or multiple hopes. He says, one body, one spirit, and one hope. In other words, we must stand united in one mind, one body, and one spirit, lest we falter from dissent. We must be like-minded, as one, lest we sacrifice the sanctity of unity. But, read the latter part of that verse once again, “…just as you were called in one hope of your calling.” What is our shared hope as Christians? Eternal life. This is the shared hope that Jesus uses throughout the entirety of scripture. He united all Christians, in one body and one spirit, under one unifying theme, the hope of eternal life (John 3:16). It is our responsibility, as Christians, to sustain that one hope, through one body and one spirit. After all, a house united will prosper, but a house divided will falter.
Reader’s Verse of Encouragement: Ephesians 4:3
“Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”