I can hardly imagine a world without division. I think I’ve tasted of unity in certain groups at certain times. People of Kingdom living, those who choose to live the lifestyle the Bible outlines for us are people of unity. We’re hearing these words a lot lately: division and unity.
I wonder about our connectedness. These verses tell us we are so connected that when one suffers, we all suffer. When one is honored, we all rejoice! I experienced this recently when a fellow Christian brother was named Teacher of the Year. I know the great things God does in and through my Christian brother and my heart sang as I listened to his speech to the school system a few weeks ago.
How do we fight division? This verse says we care for one another. It’s so easy to care for our friends, but the Bible calls us to even care for those who are against us. As a minister I’ve stepped into hospital rooms, visited and cared for people who have mistreated me. These moments are hard. Only the brave reach out to care for someone who’s hurt them. It takes a mighty warrior to love those who persecute. Divisive behavior only brings more division. Our focus turns to the fight and everyone loses.
What’s it take to dispel division?
Humility– knowing we aren’t always totally right about all things.
Communication– conversation and respectful communication is key to warding off division.
Listen– many times people are upset because they feel they aren’t heard. Listen and clarify to the person what you heard them communicate to be certain you understand.
Prevention– Preventing division is outlined for us in Matthew 18. Step 1 is to talk with the person one on one. Over 90% of conflicts are resolved in this step. Rarely do we need to go any farther. Problem is our culture teaches us to talk to everyone else about our concerns instead of that person. We want our feelings and thoughts validated. This is sinful behavior that breeds more and more division like a domino effect. If things aren’t resolved after a conversation it’s time to bring another person into the conversation, a mediator.
We are the body of Christ. It’s our responsibility to bring unity where’s there’s division. This has been a struggle throughout generations! I’m reminded of St. Francis of Assisi’s famous prayer: