by: Salem Lutheran Church
Nowadays it’s easy to get caught up and stuck in our differences. Our time and energy is spent arguing over masks, vaccinations, political parties, sports teams, worship styles, historical context etc. Disunity too often drives the interaction we have with each other in our homes, our workplaces, online, and unfortunately, even within the walls of our churches. The result is we feel stressed out, angry, alone and alienated.
There’s no escaping our differences, but the truth is we’re more alike than we’d like to admit.
As believers in Christ, we realize these truths-
- we’re all sinners - Romans 3:23
- we’re all saved by the God who loves us - John 3:16
- we all belong to Christ and are commanded to represent who He is to others - Ephesians 5:1-2
When we brand those truths on our hearts, we become less self-centered, less superior, less prideful… We also begin to be aware of how we’re guilty of spreading disunity in our homes, schools, workplaces, communities… rather than unity.
Unity begins with You. For each of us reading that statement, it means that unity starts with me.
- I am the problem.
- I am the one who needs fixing, who needs to listen, who needs to forgive, who needs to rethink things, who needs…
- I have a choice in how I will live my life when faced with differing perspectives/opinions/beliefs.
Unity does not mean uniformity. It does not mean that we’ll agree on everything, or see the world through the same lens. It does mean that despite our differences we will choose to focus on what binds us together. Unity is a balance of recognizing our similarities while appreciating our diversity.
In Colossians 3, Paul encourages all believers, including us today in 2021, to live as those made alive in Christ by putting to death the things of this world and to clothe ourselves as God’s chosen people.
The suggested wardrobe includes putting on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness. Then, in verse 14 he writes, “and over all these things put on love, which binds them together in perfect unity.”
How can we make unity real?
- view the world through the lens of grace-see people first and not perspectives
- be intentional each and every day in letting love guide our words, thoughts, actions, and reactions
- fight hard to keep conflict from taking center stage in our homes, schools, workplaces, churches, communities…
- be the first to make peace-you don’t have to agree with someone to accept them.
Few Bible commands are more difficult-or more essential-to execute than “love one another”. Arguing can, at times, be so much more satisfying, and easier. Ultimately it’s more important to recognize our common need for a Savior, and to live a counter cultural life to His honor and glory.
When we live in unity, it creates fertile ground for God’s Spirit to do amazing things!