Hiding in Plain Sight: Tribalism

Today’s post is part of a series to help us take what we learn on Sunday into the rest of the week. These posts summarize the main points from the week’s sermon and include questions for continued reflection and prayer. The posts in this series are written by members of our church’s Adult Christian Formation team.


Our service theme this past Sunday was “God Unites Us.” Preaching from Luke 20:19-26, Pastor Bobby addressed how Christians should deal with divisions in society. He emphasized how Jesus reacted to a polarizing issue in his context.

Our society has many polarizing issues and ideologies. But Christianity should be the one religion that actually makes us more humble and gracious, rather than hostile to people with different perspectives than our own.

In Luke’s story, we see the chief priests and teachers of the law trying to trap Jesus by getting him to pick a side on the issue of Roman occupation. Jesus demonstrates how the church, if it follows him, shouldn’t increase the expression of outrage going on around us. People end up reinforcing divisions in society by elevating some good aspect of creation above all others, giving it supreme importance. That’s not what Jesus did.

He escaped the trap of a trick question about paying taxes to Caesar. He pointed out that Caesar’s image was on the coin that was used to pay taxes to Rome. By saying this, he implied that people, made in God’s image, belong only to God. Just as taxes paid to Rome were like a debt to be paid, so Jesus paid a debt to God on our behalf, being a human being made in God’s image as we are. He showed how to give ourselves wholly to God. Even as we are involved in issues and causes in our society, we should give our lives entirely to Jesus.

Questions for prayer and reflection:

  1. Are you able to see the good in what others believe about social or political issues where you disagree with them?
  2. Are you able to describe the perspectives of others in ways that they will recognize as accurate?
  3. Do you practice this in conversations with people who disagree with you about important issues? If not, how could you meet and befriend people who have opposing views?
  4. What would it mean for you to give yourself wholly to God in a situation where someone expresses outrage that you agree with? What about if someone expresses outrage that you disagree with?