Churches split. Friendships break. Families fracture. Some people seem to be water and others oil. We are surrounded by division. Fortunately for us, Jesus’ mission is to unite everything in heaven and on earth.
He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. –Ephesians 1:9-10
Unfortunately for us, Jesus’ undertaking won’t be complete until he comes back to earth to establish his Father’s Kingdom. In the meantime, however, he invites us to join him on this mission. It’s a great honor to play a part in Jesus’ task, but it’s hard to know where to begin in such a broken world. When it seems like there’s not enough Elmer’s glue to hold the world together, here are some key ways to preserve unity:
See people how God sees people. I think nearly every problem in the world would disappear if we saw people from God’s perspective. If we viewed each person as intentionally and brilliantly designed by our Creator for a unique purpose, division would have no foothold. Pray that God would change the way you see people and you’ll see a change in your relationships.
Dwell on unity. Do you have a friend that you agree with 99% of the time, but the 1% has created a rift? I once had a heated debate with a friend, Luke, on the right way to eat a Little Debbie’s Nutty Bar. After 30 minutes of quarreling, it was clear neither of us were going to budge. While most issues threatening relationships are bigger than a Nutty Bar, it is still silly to dwell on them all the time. Whether you differ on a specific doctrine, a political view, or a football team allegiance, spend more time focusing on your similarities than differences. As Christians, we are more alike than different.
Seek reconciliation. We’ve all said and done things that we regret, but our true character is revealed in how we handle the hurt. Humbly admit when you are wrong, give grace when you’ve been hurt, and diligently deal with the cracks in your relationships. There is no weakness in forgiveness.
Consider the cost of division. Unity is costly in terms of effort, but the results of division cost much more. I’ve seen the nasty effects of broken friendships, strained family relations, and hurting churches. Remember that a rope is stronger than a single string. We were made to do life together—in unity.