Unity from Understanding
February 22, 2021
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people dwell together in unity! Psalm 133:1 NIV
The United States of America has been struggling for a very long time with a lack of unity. We can all testify to how bad and unpleasant that has been for everyone. All of us have likewise been involved in family, friend, work, church, or other relationships where tension has been high, and unity has been very low. Those relationships generally are comprised of good people—good people who are different, and the differences create lack of understanding, and lack of understanding creates problems.
Paul gives us calling and direction on how we can live together in unity with people who are different than we are: “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3).
His words acknowledge that we all have flaws, but humility, gentleness, and patience can enable us to live lovingly despite those issues. Making every effort to keep unity with others includes and actually requires seeking understanding on what has shaped them, how they think, and what motivates them. When you know their story, when you understand why they see things as they do, you may not agree, but you are enabled to quit taking it personally and have peace.
Sincere efforts to understand another person will include listening without judgment to the other person’s heart and perspective. It will include getting to know yourself and embracing the truth that you also bring flaws and hard-to-understand perspectives to the relationships. It will require learning things you don’t know now. The more you know about others, the harder it will be to hate them. Brene Brown says with much truth, “It’s hard to hate people you know.”
- Pray: Lord Jesus, You prayed that Your kingdom would be seen on earth as it is in heaven. That will require much humility and change in me, and willingness to sacrificially study others to learn how I can accept them in love. That is who I want to be and how I want to live. Show me Your way this week, and help me learn and grow.” Amen.