We love because God first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. 1 John 4:19-21
UNITY is a fundamental biblical value. It is a foundational Christian principle. Dozens of biblical verses stress the importance of unity.
In the Gospel of John (17:21) Jesus prays “that they might be one.”
Throughout his letters in the New Testament, Paul writes about the importance of unity. The disunity of the early church in Corinth was a primary reason for his letter to the Corinthians. The letter to the Ephesians (4:3) calls us to “bear with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Unity does not mean conformity. It does not mean that we are all the same. It does not mean that we will not have differences of opinions.
Unity means that we are all in this together – we are all children of God and therefore we are sisters and brothers or, as Paul puts it in First Corinthians, we are all members of one body.
Unity means that we begin both with commitment to the core values of the Christian faith and with the humility that none of us is infallible, none of us alone can be as faithful as all of us together.
The history of humanity and the witness of scripture attest to the fact that disunity, disharmony, discord and strife among people is as old as humanity itself.
But it is also the witness of scripture that disunity is antithetical to the will of God.
In our own society there has always been some division and discord. But the intensity of that division and discord seems to have reached heights not seen in living memory. Those to whom we look for unity foment division and discord. We see and hear incitement to disunity rather than to the unity which loves sympathy, suspects rage, and detests cruelty.
It is appropriate to seek to motivate people by emphasizing one’s policy and opinion differences with others. But it is fundamentally immoral (and indisputably unbiblical) to demonize and de-humanize people.
Sadly, the division and discord that is widespread in our society today impacts churches as well. Forces of evil always seek to divide us. Now, more than ever, we must cling to the unity which is God’s gift to us in Christ. We are called to love and respect each other. We are called to engage with each other in constructive ways that foster mutual understanding. We are called, in the words of scripture (1 Peter 3:8) to “have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”
I pray that this spirit of unity will guide and guard our hearts and minds.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Wayne Matthias-Long