By Kelly Carr
Everywhere I look, there’s division and rivalry, clashing animosity and fierce antagonism. Unity is nowhere to be found.
Because it’s March Madness, baby! (Yelled in the voice of sports announcer Dick Vitale.)
This is my favorite sporting season of the year—college basketball tournament time. Today is selection Sunday, and I am ready for the NCAA tournament to begin. During this month, I have bonds of unity with my fellow University of Kentucky Wildcat fans. But everyone else is my enemy.
Outside the context of avid sports fandom, I do support unity rather than division. We understand that this is a priority of God’s because Jesus prayed for it in John 17: “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” (vv. 20, 21).
I’ve always liked this passage because it makes me feel like those of us in modern times are part of the Bible. That’s us—we are among those Jesus is praying for; we are “those who will believe in me.”
So if we are part of the Bible, what is it that Jesus wants for us? He could have prayed any number of things, but he prayed for our unity. How are we living that out today?
It is a little comical to read those verses and then consider the number of church “flavors” that abound in a given town: all types of denominations plus a number of different church buildings from the same denomination. Why so many if we are supposed to be unified?
Of course we are human, and we will have differences of opinion, even as Christians. However, I hope we still truly view one another as fellow believers, coheirs with Christ.
Unity is tough. We are going to mess up and hurt one another. I don’t know about you, but I have higher expectations of other Christians. If non-Christians injure me, I can chalk it up to their not knowing the love of Jesus. But if Christians harm me, I am even more angered. They should know better. Then again, so should I. Yet how many times do my sarcastic words or my selfish actions cause pain to a brother or sister in Christ? More than I want to admit.
Our Main Focus
Unity is possible. Jesus believed so. Let’s read this issue’s articles together and be reminded of our unified purpose—to love and serve the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Let’s strive to be patient and loving, to forgive and to seek forgiveness, to agree to disagree on the minor things while keeping our main focus on glorifying God.
I’ve got to go now and prepare to cheer on my Cats. If you’re not a fan then I’ll be your friend after the basketball games are over.
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