09 Nov Unity for the Days After
“Come together.” “Unite.” These are words we’ve heard frequently over the last hours, days, weeks and months. But if we’re honest, we’ve doubted the true possibility of unity. How can a nation so deeply divided find unity? Has it ever truly known unity?
Like many, I’m confused today. Even amongst people with whom I deeply identify, I’ve found myself landing in different and often opposed camps. This morning, the sentiments on social media are all over the map. One thing I’ve noticed is how easy it is to shake our heads in confusion and disdain as we associate our dissenting neighbor with the deepest flaws of the party and candidates we oppose.
That is dangerous and will divide us even further.
What’s true is that we all love and desire similar things, and we see different ways of obtaining them. I’m not being relativistic. I believe certain ideologies and actions are right and others are wrong, and those beliefs informed my vote. But if I forget our commonalities . . love of God and truth, desire and love for family, community, peace, prosperity, and security . . I will demonize my neighbor and see her as the enemy. And the divide will deepen.
Our founders summed up our universal and common goal as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” They formulated the structure and authority of our government with those ideals in mind and even named our country so that we’d always remember we are the United States of America.
They had the right idea, but the reality is a political leader cannot unite us. Only we can unite us. Unity begins with choosing to love and believe the best about our neighbor even and especially when we disagree. And ultimately, remembering Who believed in our worth and sacrificed all so that we could be One as He and the Father are one. That’s unity, and as followers of Jesus, we are His messengers of reconciliation and peace.
Even more than our culture needs to unite with one another, it needs to be reconciled to and united with God. This is the only hope for true unity. We have the message of the Gospel and the means of unity.
Let’s not forget.
Here’s a good place to start (emphasis mine and aimed straight at me) . . .
Let love be genuine.
Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
Love one another with brotherly affection.
Outdo one another in showing honor.
Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Live in harmony with one another.
Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.
Never be wise in your own sight.
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink;
for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.