Every four years when we vote for a presidential candidate, we reach the same conclusions: We are more divided than ever; political polarization is an issue; there is no more “united” in the United States.
Politics is not the only area where we find disagreement—how shocking. We find differences in opinion, ideologies, values and lifestyle, yet these differences can be a cause of conflict instead of a learning opportunity. As people of faith, we are no better at handling disagreement. The Threefold Advocate urges you to ask yourself, “How am I contributing to the division we are currently experiencing?”
It could be in the form of an all-caps post on Facebook or a heated argument on Twitter, but we all struggle to keep ourselves from fueling the fire if we are passionate enough about a topic. It is easier to point out our differences rather than finding a common denominator. It is easier to widen the gap rather than to build bridges. We find unity in God and His everlasting Word. For instance, 1 Corinthians 1:10 encourages us to “be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” Moreover, the Apostle Paul exhorts us to “Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind,” (Philippians 2:2).
Being of the same mind is not a call to have a unanimous opinion on everything. Differences can create opportunities to build tolerance and to transform our minds. Differences can lead to productive conversations. However, we oftentimes use them to isolate ourselves and to other our peers on the basis of what sets them apart from us.
Although finding cohesion may seem like a lost cause by now, we should strive for unity and not division. Let’s remember that Jesus engaged with people different from him during his ministry, but, instead of spreading division, he embraced unity by loving them regardless. Here’s the thing: Unity can only be a result of love. According to Colossians 3:14, we should “put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
Whatever divides you from your neighbor, whether it be political, ideological or even religious differences, find unity in the love of God. Find unity in the community we call “JBU.” With Christ as the head, our differences are what bind us to function together as His body.
Let’s move to a time of rest and reflection with unity in mind. Even if we don’t see each other’s faces for the next couple months, we keep building each other up by finding beauty in differences and oneness in the Lord.
Photo courtesy of Clay Banks