the state of being united or joined as a whole.
I’m someone who likes to define terms, just so everyone reading is on the same page (hence the definition above). To be truthful most of the time unity isn’t a fun thing to talk about in my opinion. Unity is hard and unnatural.
[If you think I’m exaggerating, try living with anyone but yourself for a while...you’ll start to argue over things you didn’t even know bothered you and the unity of your household is gone.]
When thinking about unity I think of words like this: peace, calm, steadfastness. But I don’t think the road of getting to unity looks like that. The process (like most things) is hard, heavy and messy. Being a Christian doesn’t mean everything looks beautiful and pristine all the time because we are human in need of a Savior, who calls us to look like Him.
Jesus said in John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (emphasis mine).
As Garrett said on Wednesday displaying love will set us apart from people who are not followers of Jesus. This one thing makes us look like we belong to Jesus; loving one another, choosing community over chaos.
So what does that look like right now? In the midst of chaos and unrest?
Show up and make space for unity.
Building relationships can be hard or uncomfortable, and showing up isn’t always fun, especially when we disagree. It’s easier to walk away. We’ve probably all done that at some point in our lives where instead of having a hard conversation we just ghosted someone and decided they were “too toxic” for us.* Or, we’ve simply not talked about a certain topic because we know things will get heated (ie politics at Thanksgiving).
*There are exceptions for truly toxic people, but that’s not what we are talking about today. I’m talking about those relationships where we don’t want to fight for unity because we don’t like conflict, confrontation, etc.
But Jesus does not call us to that in the body of Christ. He calls us to this:
John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
So make space for unity. Just spend time with people (in person). Go bowling, play games, share a meal, get ice cream, go on a walk, and when you get offended or disagree talk about it and listen.
Nothing sets me off more than when I don’t feel like someone is listening. It’s always been a struggle for me. My blood literally starts boiling and I can feel my anger rising up in me because I just want to be heard and I know I’m not alone in that.
We need to learn how to listen.
That’s part of loving someone. Making sure that they’re heard, seen, known. If I never listened to the people I love we would never have a real relationship. They would just be the crazy people that kept showing up like my racquetball wall for all my words to rikoshe off. That’s not a relationship, that doesn’t strengthen us. It just builds one person’s ego and likely annoys the other. So learn to listen and listen well, truly and fully.
Finally, pray, read and study. Seek the Lord with your entire being. Ask Him to show you relationships that are lacking unity. Ask Him to put you in situations to build unity. Look at His character, who He is, what He has done and how that changes your life.
The spirit of unity we should be seeking as believers doesn’t mean we are going to agree on every single thing. It means our desire to honor Jesus and follow Him should push us towards unity. Whether we agree or disagree we chase after Christ, together, arm in arm because that’s what He called us to do, we build each other up, we don’t tear each other down (1 Thess 5.11).
Because my goal in life should never be to get you to see my side and convert you to what I say--it should only ever be to show you Jesus...even if you already know Him.