We live in divisive times. On the one hand, politicians from all spectrums of the landscape are calling for a sense of unity in our country. On the other hand, when they speak, their words are often inflammatory and judgmental. They say they want to bring our nation together as one, but their words do not connect with their purported intentions.
What does the Bible have to say about such things? While its audience is obviously the church, our nation and our leaders could learn much from these words of scripture.
In Romans 16:17-18, St. Paul writes this: “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”
There is no doubt that in order for a nation or a church to move forward and flourish, the people must work together as one. One of the concepts that allows this to happen is the concept of unity in diversity, and the idea is simple: unity without uniformity and diversity without fragmentation.
In other words, this unity is not simply based on tolerance of physical, cultural, linguistic, social, religious, political, or psychological differences. Instead, it is a unity based on an understanding that respects our differences, while not excluding anyone for being different. We do not have to change and all be the same. We only have to love and respect each other’s differences.
So why is it so difficult for us, as a society and culture, to get to this simple philosophy? Again, the Bible shows us the way. I Corinthians 1:10: "I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment."
And again in Titus 3:9-10: ”But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless."
It’s not that complicated. Love and trust God, and love your neighbor.
Wells is interim pastor, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Champaign. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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