Summary: Brother against brother. Father against son. Son against father. It was a war that was anything but “civil”. Wars are inevitable.What if we could learn to fight fair? What if we could wage civil wars?
Pt. 1 - Skirmishes
4 years, 6 weeks and 3 days. By declaration it began in April of 1861 and the last shot was fired on June of 1865. It did not live up to its name. There was nothing civil about it. In fact, it remains the the most costly war in our history in regards to casualties. Estimates put the death toll of the Civil War somewhere between 650-850,000 men. These were not enemy lives lost. These were not soldiers from a foreign invader. These were not troops from some external conquering force. No these losses were inflicted by bother on brother, father on son, son on father, and neighbor on neighbor violence. No, it was not even close to civil. There were not flowers coming out of the end of the muskets when the trigger was pulled and rubber bayonets being thrust into someone else's chest. Real bullets and real blades resulted in real blood and real death. The civil war was not civil.
Households were divided. Families were torn apart. Sides chosen. And as we have discovered some of the wounds received during this war are still raw and unhealed.
The civil war taught us that those closest to you have the ability to inflict the most damage. Those who are connected by blood have the ability to strike the hardest and cut the deepest.
It is this reality that causes many of us to come to the conclusion that it would be easier if we could live life isolated. Isolation would surely insulate us and inoculate us against the pain. We convince or perhaps a more accurate word would be deceive ourselves into living as if we don't need relationship. However, one of the earliest truths that we discover in the Bible is found in Genesis 2 when on the 6th day of creation, after stating that everything He has crafted and designed up to this point is "good", God creates man and for the first time He sees His handy work and declares "It isn't good!" Not His creation but the state of His creation. He states that it isn't good for man to be clothed? Feathered? Rich? Wealthy? Famous? Happy? No . . . He says it isn't good for man to be ALONE! Isolation is not God's design or plan for man. In fact, we quickly figure out that man cannot fulfill his God-given assignment by himself. It is fundamental that we must have relationship and yet from the beginning relationships are the thing that rupture and produce the deepest brokenness us. We also see from the very beginning that man struggles to handle and navigate relationship. The first family has a war and it wasn't civil either. Cain would rather kill his brother than learn from his brother. Perfection and utopia is interrupted by a family fight. From family one we realize we don't know how to fight right.
I recently pinpointed 5 principalities or principles that we are required to confront in order for us to produce freedom in this family (Poverty, hopelessness, apathy, isolation, compartmentalism). We will confront each eventually but I am convinced that one of the most significant and important to defeat is the principle of isolation. Because since we were designed for relationship if we can learn to navigate relationships correctly there will be strength, camaraderie, and the support and spurring necessary to defeat the other principalities. You are going to have a hard time defeating poverty unless a person helps you recognize that mentality. You are going to have a hard time coming out of hopelessness if you don't have someone encouraging you. Apathy will fall off if you have someone to spur you towards good works. You won't learn to live totally surrendered in every area of your life if you don't have someone in your life who can point out areas where you have refused to allow God to work.
I remind you again that Psalms 68:6 we are told that God's stated plan is to place the isolated in families. However, I run into more offended Christians who have quit church after church simply because they have been hurt by church folks! Everyone I run into seems to be mad at someone church family, immediate family, coworkers, etc. There are so many who sit in services weekly who are in bondage while they are faithful because they are in a war that wasn't civil. Simply put there are just way too many of us walking wounded and offended. We like to talk about all the signs that reveal that we are nearing the return of Christ. However, did you know that in Matthew 24 Jesus gives us a list of signs and He says that one of the signs is that many will be offended, will betray one another and hate one another?