“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house… Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” -Matthew 12:25

There are times where Jesus is very metaphorical in His teachings, where I wish He was more explicit - this is definitely not one of them. However, I am still confused. If I am meant to be with Jesus, does that mean that I should always be “with” my brothers and sisters in Christ, that is, in agreement and go along with everything for the sake of peace and unity? That we can get along without conflict? 

I’m not sure this is what Jesus means though. I have experienced myself and seen in the lives of others close to me very real conflicts - from many very well-meaning, good-hearted people - tear relationships and communities apart and leave neither side with much peace. It left me for some time wondering what was the point of even trying to rebuild connections when the wounds seemed so deep and any new bridge building not really in sight. To find myself not so much appalled as much as profoundly discouraged by the darkness I saw so clearly weaving its way through situations within communities that I had grown so fond of over the years.

When I sat with this more in prayer, I found that Jesus was right there in the midst of it. He was not running away or shunning these moments from happening. There was an acknowledgment of conflict, but that this was not the end. Jesus accepted that even in His own life He would come face to face with a multitude of divisions among those with whom He interacted, and yet also understood that there was more. 

I find that Jesus invites me to do the same. When I sit there, not trying to fix anything or walk away, I discover He is there to bring me not only through but beyond these tense situations to new perspectives and realities. I can then become more aware of dividing spirits as they emerge and shift the focus toward being with Him as situations develop. I am reminded that I am not the one in control - I don’t have to try to be either - and in that space, there is more at work than I can ever fully realize.

Jesus, please help me to remain with You in the difficult, sometimes seemingly unresolvable moments. Help me to see as You see, and find greater trust in Your versus my own abilities to bring about a deeper peace.

Quyen Nhi Ngo