1998-06-19 - Unity
Jesus' Difficult Teachings, Part 15
(John 17:21 NNAS) "that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me."
What do people see when they visit your church? Do they see the Body of Christ, who has spiritual unity, or do they see a body who is torn apart by bitterness about long-held grudges against the minister for some perceived neglect, arguments over what kind of music to sing, disapproval over some people's more casual approach to worship? It's okay for us to have strong personal preferences, and if we are hurt we need to let the person who hurt us know about that and work it out. But our unity and peace in the Body reflect Christ to the world. What a responsibility! The next time we are in a committee meeting or run into someone with whom we have had differences, we need to ask ourselves if the issues involved are really worth risking this - affecting how people see our Lord and Savior.
However, as a friend of mine says, unity does not equal uniformity. We are all different. God gifted us diversely, and gave us different personalities. God's Kingdom needs all that diversity; it is intentional diversity. Every single one of us has abilities and personalities that are vital to fulfilling God's great plan.
(1 Cor 12:15-17 NNAS) "If the foot says, "Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, "Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?"
It's all a matter of balance and priorities. We need to pick our battles wisely, and fight them lovingly. Christ was never afraid to stand up for what was right, but He of course had perfect balance.
Dear Father, please help us to always be mindful of the fact that the unity of the church reflects on Christ Himself, and how people view Him. May our unity be a magnet that draws the unsaved toward Your Kingdom. In Jesus' name, amen.