A House Divided
Paul L. Garlington
 
“But He knew their thoughts, and said to them, ‘Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and A HOUSE DIVIDED against itself falls.’” (Lk 11:17) Please notice the devastating consequences of being a house divided: waste, ruin and a catastrophic fall (i.e., lack of all things). What are the determining factors that result in a house divided? As we begin to answer this question, let’s first look at a childhood story that has been a a favorite of millions for many years.

Surely, we are all familiar with the tale of Beauty and the Beast. This classic has withstood the test of time because of its deep, profound truths. This story is but one of the many signposts built into the warp and woof of our culture pointing us unerringly to the truth that God is One. In the narrative, you will remember that the beast was transformed by the unconditional love of a beautiful maiden. The beast becomes a handsome prince and the two marry and live happily ever after. As it applies to our lives, the beast takes two forms: the beast within and the grotesque monster without. Everybody, sooner or later, has to deal with their beast within, that part of themselves they’ve condemned, and the monster without, the composite projection of those inner judgments.

We create our personal Frankenstein by judging aspects of ourselves not good. Our relentless, internal dialogical process of labeling things not good creates and nurtures the beast within. We then, through denial of personal responsibility, seek to distance ourselves from the horror we have come to loathe. It is this beast that causes us to cry out, like the Apostle Paul, “O wretched man that I am. Who will deliver me?” (Rom 7:24)

The beast/monster without is any person, place, thing, or situation that you call not good as an extension of your inner dialogue. It’s like the alcoholic who passed out in the cheese factory. The workers observing his inebriated state decided to have some fun, and rubbed some pungent limburger cheese under his nose. The man when aroused from his drunken stupor, and after going in and out of the factory several times, exclaimed, “It’s no use. The whole world stinks!”

A famous plastic surgeon wrote a very interesting book detailing the all too common experiences of his patients. To be specific, he found that once his patients had received the surgery, and had achieved the outward changes they so greatly desired, they were still, to the amazement of the surgeon, quite dissatisfied with themselves. Apparently, changing the outside had no affect whatsoever on the beast within. We can all save ourselves a tremendous amount of anxiety and worry if we simply understand that when we are no longer a house divided, we have also rid ourselves of the beast within and without. Hence, the enduring value of stories like Beauty and the Beast.

Do you remember how the Beast was eventually transformed? The metamorphosis of the Beast was affected through the UNCONDITIONAL LOVE of the maiden. Although she had originally been forced to live with the beast as the only way to obtain the release of her imprisoned father, she discovered subtle changes occurring within her. Because she is no longer running from the thing she fears, but is now driven out of love for the father to embrace the thing she fears, she thereby uncovers the secret that would mean liberation for everyone concerned. Do you see what happens when love constrains us to embrace the disowned parts of ourselves that we call the beast? The breech is healed, wholeness is restored, oneness reigns supreme, you are no longer a house divided. This beautiful state of union and bliss is symbolized by, “...and they were married and lived happily ever after.”

Unconditional love is the by product of loving the One, besides whom there is none other, with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. It is the inevitable consequence of accepting the fact that there is one conceiver/creator, and He has called all things good and very good. To disagree with this glorious reality is tantamount to a declaration of war on the Infinite. You cannot win, your house is divided, waste and ruin is inescapable. There is only one way out: Unconditional surrender to omnipresent good restores a lifestyle of unconditional love. This is the secret, “...a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye...Men have forgotten this truth, but you must not forget it.” (Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince) Once you accept that everything that exists has already been named good and very good, the beast will vanish from your world.

“And why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” Notice here that simply to agree that He is Lord is not enough. You must be willing to act on that fact. You don’t have to be able, nor do you have to know how. It is just required that you have 100% willingness. You don’t even have to be willing, you just have to have 100% intent TO BE willing. It is this kind of individual that Jesus says, “Everyone who comes to Me, and hears My words, and acts upon them, I will show you whom he is like; he is like a man building a house (i.e., building a lifestyle, a new way of life), who dug deep (if you want change, you are going to have to dig deep) and laid a foundation upon the rock (I Am, infinite, absolute, all); and when a flood rose, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built (i.e., established on I Am). But the one who has heard, and has not acted accordingly (i.e., talks oneness, but in fact has a divided heart), is like a man who built a house upon the ground without any foundation, and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.” (Lk 6:46-49) A house divided always comes to waste and ruin.

You are a house divided against itself when you believe in two or more powers, or that there is an evil power to fight. If God is the first of many or other powers, then all powers are finite. If all powers are finite, there’s no god. In order for God to be God, God must be infinite, absolute, all, the only one. This is not negotiable! This truth is not tied to any religion, nor is it even contingent on your acceptance to make it so. This is the truth that is. Since God is infinite, absolute, all, then there can be no other. Division by definition is diminution. If God is divided, no longer whole, complete, all, then God is not.

Once God has an adversary, an opponent, He is not the only one, God is not all. This point is so critical. It is this revelation that brought a nation of slaves out of bondage. “Hear O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!” (Deut 6:4) In order for God to be one, He must be the only one. This is the rock on which you have to build your house, your lifestyle. In the absence of commitment to this truth, your house may look fabulous without, but the flood and the storm will always expose the hidden deficiencies (i.e., you never had a foundation). Or in the words of the big, bad wolf, the storm will, “Huff and puff and blow your house down.” It is from this perspective that we can understand why scripture declares, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Ps 14:1) You are a fool and have erred exceedingly whenever you relegate power, presence, and intelligence to any person, place or thing other than God. Having played the fool, you now live in terror of that awful day that must surely come, the appointed hour that does indeed make haste, when the big, bad wolf that you have called forth will blow your house down. This is reality! All religions, or anything else for that matter, that denies the allness of the infinite One are simply havens for fools.

Isn’t it wonderful, since God is infinite, absolute, all, there is no evil power to fight or overcome? If in anyway you are hesitant to accept this, you need to dig deeper until you’ve found the rock. If you still require an evil power to overcome, is it not because you are still refusing to give all glory and power to the One God?

There is no such thing as a power of good and a power of evil. “But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Mat 5:39) We only resist that which we think is real and has power to hurt us. We do not resist shadows on the wall because we know they do not have power. No matter how menacing the shadow created by your hand gestures appear, we do not resist it because we know it is powerless, therefore, it presents no problem to us. However, as soon as we label something as an evil force, operating outside of omnipresence, the warfare begins. Didn’t we learn in physics that every action creates an equal, opposing reaction? In like manner, every action to resist the thing we call evil must create an equal, opposing reaction which we then insist is proof of the existence of evil. Our action in resisting evil causes the reaction. Furthermore, the harder we resist, the greater the resistance. Do you get it? We are entirely responsible for the reaction because of our actions. Remember: You don’t have to like it, but you are always responsible for it.

There is absolutely no need to agonize over the so-called evil in our world. There are only two options: You are either a victim in a world of two powers; or assuming total responsibility, you will say, “Any thing that is in my world that I don’t like is present at my behest and is a direct result of my act of resistance.” Unfortunately, we seldom initiate the self-interrogation process that returns us to the place of responsibility and power. Instead, we would rather assume that the reaction to our opposition to “evil” is a confirmation that “evil” exists, thus guaranteeing even greater resistance. How does the epistle of James instruct us to resist the “devil”? Did he not say, “Submit to God...and purify your hearts, you doubleminded.”? (Jm 4:7) Is it not the pure heart (single, undivided) that sees God/good and nothing but God? We will always be in two minds until we concede all glory to the infinite One who exists eternally unopposed.

Therefore, our resistance to the thing called evil creates the reaction. The reaction causes fear for it seems to be a confirmation of evil’s presence and power. At which point, the words of Job are fulfilled, “For what I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me.” (Job 3:25) If only we understood the words of Pogo when he said, “We have found the enemy, and he is us.” You have simply to do what the scripture admonishes, namely, “Be still and know I Am God,” to rid yourself of anything called evil. Do you see it? Your action to resist the thing YOU call “evil” creates evil. Your persistence in fighting the “good fight”, feeds the evil you have now created. “For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, ‘In repentance and rest you shall be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength. But you were not willing.’” (Is 30:15)

“But what,” you insist, “Do I do about this fear? Even the thought of no longer resisting makes me even more fearful.” Here is the good news: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear...” (1 Jn 4:18) What is this perfect love that banishes all fear? Is it not the love described in the great commandment? When we have dug deep and found the rock, the infinite, I Am, who is one, who is all, 100% commitment to love the one true God is perfect love. “But,” you insist, “What about the second commandment?” Did not Jesus declare that the second commandment is like unto the first? Therefore, since we all live and move and have our being in the infinite One, to love the One completely is to love all that is. It is this perfect love that delivers us from the tormenting hell called fear.

Return to this glorious liberating truth that God is one and besides Him, there is none other, and, “You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day; of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not approach you...For you have made the Lord, my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place. No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent...Because he has loved Me (perfect love), therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name (I Am).” (Ps 91)

“Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, ‘The Lord knows those who are His (those who give all glory to God as One),’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness (ascribing power, presence and intelligence to anything other that the one God).’” (2 Tim 2:19) He who builds on this foundation will never be moved.

 
 

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