Psalm 133:1 states, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” (NIV). The reality of our times though, is one of great opposition and discord within the church and the secular world. With over 7 billion people on our planet, it is reasonable to expect disagreement, but do we have to be so divisive and harsh?
In the daily battles of church against church, family member against family member, political party against political party, the middle ground is quickly disappearing and is seen as bad piece of real estate. If we were to examine ourselves deeply, do we even know why we dislike certain people or even entire groups of people? Do we really know why we are fighting?
Living a life of constant strife is a clear sign that we are not in alignment with the Holy Spirit. I am not saying that our salvation is in question or that you have blasphemed the Holy Spirit, we are simply disconnected like an electrical cord from an outlet. As Christians, we are not called to like everybody- we are called to show the love of Christ. As it can be human nature, we often surround ourselves with people who look like us, act like us, talk like us, and have backgrounds like us. When this happens, we become isolated and put up barriers to those outside of our group.
The love of Christ crosses all social and religious barriers. Consider the examples of Jesus, who broke many of the cultural taboos of His day. To name a few, Jesus ministered to the lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors, and other people deemed “sinners.” Jesus healed on the Sabbath. Jesus spoke and ministered to a Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus also healed the “ceremonially unclean” woman with the issue of blood and the Gentile Centurion’s servant. In short, Jesus ministered to those who felt marginalized and disenfranchised by the religious establishment of His day. How much more in these last days should we as the church be ministering to those who need Christ- everyone regardless of whether we agree with their lifestyles or choices? Were we not at one point sinners who needed the love and grace of a merciful and forgiving God?
I will finish with several verses that emphasize the need for unity within the church and in our lives. God bless you all.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one. Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are one- I in them and You in Me-so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.” (John 17:20-23, NIV).
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and One Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:3-5, NIV).
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” (Philippians 2:1-2, NIV).
“My goal is that they [the church at Laodicea] may be encouraged in heart, and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:2-3, NIV, brackets mine).
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14, NIV).