Unity is beautiful but very rare indeed
Published 5:50 am Sunday, September 30, 2018
Have you noticed lately that conflict and disagreement are more abundant than unity? Though the average person would give peace as the answer to what they would like to have more of, we are bombarded with an environment that is filled with arguing, strife, and criticism. It seems that some people actually enjoy fighting and bickering as a challenge to see how many disputes and quarrels they can instigate and win. Wouldn’t the world be such a happier place if we could all just get along and try to focus on what is good instead of being constantly disparaging and judgmental? We are reminded of the passage in Philippians chapter four and verse eight where Paul states, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” The writer realized that our minds are highly vulnerable to receive and express negative influences and is trying to explain that we would be much more calm and content if we could learn how to be less condemning and more optimistic. I know, some of you strongly disagree.
So, as we are surrounded by an ocean of disagreements, who has the wisdom and authority to know what is right and wrong? Every political, philosophical, and religious group on the planet will step forward and acknowledge they possess the absolute truth which has now increased the confusion beyond comprehension. As the world ponders about universal correctness, we are hearing more about how truth is relative to each individual. This suggestion proclaims there is no such thing as absolute truth but rather is a personal conclusion. On the other side of the fence, we find that Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the absolute truth, the purpose and meaning of life, and the Bible has been given to mankind as our spiritual compass and instruction guide. Of course, there are many who will disagree.
Are Christians commanded to enter into this battle of arguing and strife? If Jesus were here today, would he be an outspoken, aggressive political activist? I don’t think so. As a follower, I’m convinced we are called to demonstrate his character more than we are commanded to tell everyone how they should live. Christians are encouraged to promote unity as we read in I Peter chapter 3, “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult” also in Romans chapter 12, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Why is this important? Because when Christians climb into the ring to fight against something they disagree with, they are exchanging their spiritual authority for a destructive attitude of carnality which can easily develop into resentment and hatred. We are tempted to disregard God’s warning about wrestling against flesh and blood but unfortunately, our arrogance would rather get ugly on the battlefield than go to war on our knees. Whether a Christian or not, our fleshly nature is filled with denial and vicious emotions but of course many would disagree.
The gospel is relaying the love story about Jesus being born, dying on a cross, and rising from the dead. This message is all about God offering to transform a conscience and redeem a soul for those who decide this is really what they want. So, instead of Christians arguing, criticizing, and harassing people about their views and lifestyle choices, we should just quietly demonstrate the character of Christ and pray that we will follow only what he is telling us to say and do. This includes letting go of the idea that we are somehow going to persuade or convince someone else to dedicate their life to God. I will make a statement here that some might consider a little on the pessimistic side but the majority of people on this earth will never accept Jesus Christ or come together in unity with those who do. Christians believe that God is everyone’s judge, has all the answers, and the only one who can give us the peace, joy, and contentment we are searching for. However, yes, you guessed it, the majority of people on this planet disagrees.
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