Bravery. Kindness. Intelligence. Honesty. Selflessness.
These are the elements that make up the factions, or sections, of post-Chicago in now-famous Veronica Roth’s Divergent series. Everyone is supposed to fit into a neat little category; they can only be one of the listed above traits. Any more than that, and, in the first book, you’re considered abnormal. A fish swimming against the current of “normalcy”. A threat, even.
You’re considered Divergent.
While I think the series in some senses is a bit over-hyped (especially Dauntless, with only a little attention given to the other, “lesser” factions), I think Ms. Roth was right about some things. She was right about, for instance, “normal” people being terrified of what they don’t understand, the extraordinary. As a Christian, I find this both comforting and disturbing, simultaneously. People don’t like what they don’t get, so they try to cover it up, or worse, eliminate it, as we see the ever-cunning yet ever twisted Jeanine Matthews doing in the first book. It makes her squirm that she has no control whatsoever over the Divergents, so after trying to dissect the main character, Tris the Divergent (to figure out how she ticks), she promptly attempts to dispose of her. It reminds me of how this world has very little, if any, control over us as believers in Christ. As Christians, though we are indeed called to at least peacefully live with others while IN the world, we are certainly not called to be OF the world, or LIKE the world, and guess what? It utterly terrifies people. It terrifies them that they can’t control what God’s doing through us, through circumstance, through EVERYTHING. They may not say it. They may rather confess to being more puzzled or even annoyed/angry with us, rather than terrified. But deep, deep down there’s that part that’s scared. That wonders if God’s right, if Jesus is right.
What might be scarier still is that Jesus is pure, 100% Divergent. They couldn’t control Him back then (The authorities tried and failed. Miserably. Trust me on that.), and they certainly can’t control Him and His Spirit now. And, if you really, truly think on it, His personality flawlessly fits all the faction’s silly little categories (whereas Tris only fits into three):
Jesus is remarkably intelligent and wise– Erudite. This is confirmed from even as a child, asking the teachers of the law hard questions and testing their knowledge. He was able to answer the most important questions in the most meaningful fashion, and evaded the Pharisees’ political and religious trap questions numerous times.
Jesus is deeply, deeply compassionate. He didn’t say a peep when He felt an argument was unnecessary, didn’t fight back when He was near whipped to death. He saw the faces of God’s people, of the people He made, and LOVED them. He genuinely felt sorry they were stuck in their miserable rut of sin, and extended an invitation of help, love, and support (not supporting the sin, mind, supporting them in resisting sin, recanting sin and in turning to Him.). He loved them enough to DIE for them. That’s what I call ultimate Love– and kindness and love is what Amity is all about.
Jesus is incredibly brave. It takes serious, SERIOUS guts to go against the crowd, to get the governor and all the leading religious leaders in a knot, to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven and Himself at the Head of the said Kingdom, to go before the kangaroo court and take beatings without caving. In His day, many would have thought Him a “radical” (quote on quote); in fact, His own family was initially embarrassed of His actions. Guess what? He didn’t care. He knew the end result would be worth it, no matter the cost. (note: Dauntless are also considered “reckless” and “radical” by other factions, just sayin.)
Jesus IS The Truth. When it comes to Candor the Honest Faction, Jesus would be considered top-notch.
Jesus is perfectly selfless in every single way. He came to serve, not to be served, as illustrated at the Last Supper, performing a servant’s job of washing the disciples stinky, sweaty, smelly feet. He’s all about God and all about others, helping others, and helping others reconnect with God, which is a beautiful, wonderful thing. Lastly, He VERY selflessly sacrificed Himself for us on that cross, when it was really us that should have been up there, dying that death. Jesus is the Ultimate Abnegation.
So what does all this mean for us as believers and devoted followers of Christ?
It means He’s called us to be very, very different from this world. Set apart. In, but not of. Brave, intelligent, honest, and most of all, loving selflessly. Divergent.
Holy. Just as God is holy.
“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God.” John 1:10-13
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine so before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16