In the 15th century, the province of Brittany was quite affluent. At that time, however, France was set on unifying all its future provinces, no matter what the cost, even if it meant resorting to warfare.
Aware of France’s intentions, the province of Brittany immediately drafted all males living within a four kilometer radius of any castles (There were no highways in those days!) into the militia. You can already imagine how that was perceived by the local farmers and tradesmen who were now ordered to watch over the castles, providing food and hides to the castle’s inhabitants, and preparing to defend the castle at all costs. It was all about the needs of the castle, and nothing about the needs of the local inhabitants!
Some protested and some even tried to circumvent their circumstances. Systematic punishments were established. The first time someone was caught avoiding his enforced duties, he would be flogged in public. Quite humiliating for that poor lad who had no choice in the matter! The second time they would cut off one of his ears (Which ear would you prefer to have cut off? The left one, or the right one?). The third time he would be hung like a herring, never to be heard of again.
Unity had to be maintained after all, no matter the cost!
Unfortunately, despite all their efforts, the Britains were far from being unified. And even more unfortunately, they didn’t realize it until they were already under attack of the French army. Brittany’s soldiers were not trained in defensive actions, and they were far from being prepared to defend the castles. We can only imagine the chaos this created. The French had no difficulties conquering Brittany with only a minimal loss of men.
Disunity can be quite costly!
Jesus also warned us about a spiritual force that wants our destruction. Unlike the Britains, He lets us decides what to do about it. He also covers us with prayer, something much more powerful than any weapons on earth! However we have to be consciously willing to take notice of his warning.
“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” (John 17:15, NIV2) This verse was referring directly to “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.” (John 17:11b, NIV2)
The real truth behind disunity: we’ve been tricked by the evil one!
Jesus wants us to be protected from the evil one. Yes, the evil one is truly a roaring lion, ready to devour any of us, no matter our status, skill or good looks (See 1 Peter 5:8), and disunity is his specialty. He is quite well aware that any believer who points the finger at another is already defeated! Oh, he has so much fun when we bicker over doctrines, instead of focusing on what is truly important: serving God and genuinely loving the way Jesus loves.
A divided army is no army at all! United we stand, divided we will be conquered. If we continue to live in indifference and disunity, we will fall! Look at its consequences: “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,” (Matthew 24:10, NIV2)
We need to wake up from our stupor and start letting God shine through us. Unity is possible after all, but it will require a lot of prayer and letting go of any personal agendas. This may seem impossible. After all we have been living this way for centuries. But don’t despair. Israel was no better, and one person changed it all! When Jesus appeared on earth, he brought unity to all of those who truly hungered for God. It cost Him dearly, but He couldn’t help but live by love, the foundation of unity. This love drove Him and his followers to love like never before and where love reigns, unity thrives.
Do we prefer to live in a home that is divided? Or are we truly hungering for genuine love?
“If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mark 3:25, NIV2)
(To access the entire “Hell’s Tactics” devotional series, please click here.)
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