• Seeking Unity in Times of Hostility and Division

“I pray…that all of them may be one…”

The stories of Jesus are a featured part of our Bridges training events around the world. Jesus spoke to this issue with a heightened emphasis on His final days here on earth before heading to the right-hand of the throne of God. He prayed that we, His followers, would seek to be “one” as He and the Father are “one”. He also prayed that “oneness” will convince the world that God sent Him (Jesus) to earth and that our “oneness” will convince the world that God loves us.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:20-23 (NIV)

Wow! The Lord prays for us that this complete unity comes through His “oneness” through the Father with His son, Jesus. Jesus wants us to love one another in the same way that He loves us, and it is by our love for each other that the world will know that we are followers of Christ and His disciples. This complete unity will only come with the Love of Christ. Jesus tells us in John 13: 34-35 (NIV)

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, inspired the apostle Paul to write regarding conflict and division when two of his disciples, Euodia and Syntyche, were at odds with one another over some issue.  We don’t know what the issue was, only that it was divisive. It interrupted the unity of their fellowship in Christ. Paul addresses them in Philippians 4:2 (NIV):

“I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord…”

The remedy was to have the mind of Christ. Paul implies that having the mind of Christ, means thinking like Him, having His attitude, His humility and most of all, His love.

What does demonstrating “love” look like in these divisive issues?

When we love each other, it doesn’t mean we have to agree with each other. We are members of the body of Christ, “one” family and as members of a family we will disagree. When we do disagree, we should do so recognizing that the people we are disagreeing with are our sisters and brothers in the family of Christ, and that means we love them and should treat them with respect and affection. Loving our sisters and brothers means listening to what they have to say. This means really listening to them, not just waiting for them to finish speaking so we can start talking again. Unfortunately, I do that way too often. The goal of a healthy discussion is not only progress, but also understanding. If we love our sisters and brothers in Christ we will want to understand them. Truly loving them means we listen to them. As followers of Christ, we are directed by Him to be humble, affectionate, kind, and respectful – listening in love.

Jesus has given us everything. Let’s use it ALL as we seek unity in the body of Christ.

If you feel led to leave a response and comment here, please do so by replying and posting in this blog. We welcome your comments and interactions within a community of those seeking to further advance the Kingdom of God.

The last comment needs to be approved.
0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.