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A House Divided Will Not Stand

09 July 2023

An old wooden outhouse that is falling down

In Matthew 12:25 Jesus states that “every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” (see also Mark 3:25 and Luke 11:17).


This phrase is often used in today’s world to describe political situations where divisions within a party or nation have caused the destruction or fall of that particular entity.  Famously, Abraham Lincoln kicked off his bid for the US Senate by quoting this verse (in reference to the American civil war) and there are many, many other examples where this scripture has been quoted throughout history.


In Jesus’ case, he was replying to the Pharisees who accused him of casting out demons by the power of Satan.  Jesus’ response was logical in that any kingdom which is at cross purposes with itself, riven by infighting, will tear itself apart – in other words casting out demonic forces in the name of Satan is contradictory in itself, and disruptive to Satan’s cause. 


Jesus is making the point that the success of any given entity relies on congruency (unity).  Examples of the destruction caused by disunity are seen all the time, be it in political parties, sports teams or even in an individual person’s own mind (the Bible tells us in James 1:8 that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways).


Paul, in 1 Corinthians 1:10, appeals that there be no divisions among believers, and in Romans 16:17 we are warned to keep away from those who seek to cause divisions amongst us.


You see, division causes weakness and a greater probability of being defeated, and we become less likely to achieve our goals.  This is true in our personal lives, our families, our churches and in our communities.  However, when we stand together in unity we become stronger, better prepared to overcome the challenges before us and more likely to reach our goals.  This is because when we stand together in unity, we work together towards a common purpose.  We are not wasting our energy by fighting amongst ourselves, but instead we use our energy to achieve something great together.


Jesus’ words in Matthew 12:25 are a reminder of the importance of striving for unity in all areas of our lives, in our families, in our churches, in our workplaces and within our communities.  We really are Stronger Together.


Here are just a few practical ways that we can promote unity in our lives;


  • Pray for unity – ask God to help us to be unified in our hearts and minds.
  • Talk to each other – Communicate with one another about our differences and work together to find common ground.  Listen more than you speak and seek to understand before seeking to be understood.  Try to focus on what unites us rather than what divides us.
  • Be willing to compromise – sometimes we need to give up something in order to achieve unity.
  • Forgive one another - If we have been hurt by others, we need to forgive them in order that we are able to move forwards.
  • Be patient – It can sometimes take time to build true unity and we need to be patient with each other as we work through any differences that we may have.


Jesus was the perfect example of unity.  He showed us how to love and how to accept people from all walks of life.  When we follow his example, we can truly make a difference in the world and help to unite others.  Unity is not always easy, but it is really worth the effort. So let’s strive for unity together in all aspects of our lives, and let’s see how much more God can do through us when we work together in unison.

Photo of Simon Carter

Simon Carter
GoChurch Bradford