It’s special when our love of Christ saturates our lives so much that it materializes in a love for one another despite all of our differences.
Unity does not mean similarity. Diversity does not mean separation. While the two concepts can seem to be at odds with one another, Jesus desires for us to embrace and desire both unity and diversity. Like grace and truth, we are called to represent two qualities that can create tension but ultimately bring about more glory to God. Diversity does’t make unity easy, but it make it better.
Unity and Diversity in our World
The culture around us continuously speaks about diversity. It’s no surprise that we value having different views and people represented. And it’s much easier to talk about diversity without actually living it out.
Our natural tendency is to gravitate toward our own personal comfort. Let’s face it, it’s just easier to be around people who have similar interests, attitudes, and experiences as we do. We actually feel safer around people who are similar to us. The problem with that is…As Christians we are called to God’s mission, not to our own comfort and safety.
As you study the early church, unity was one of its primary characteristics. The New Testament is clear about the body of Christ getting along with one another. We see many verses telling us to avoid conflict while selflessly and humbly serve one another.
As Christians, unity should be one of our defining characteristics and a big part of our witness to the outside world. Paul encourages us in Ephesians 4:3 to, “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit.”
Jesus calls his followers in The Great Commission, to make disciples of “all nations.” In the Revelation 7:9, John sees people “from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” The Bible offers us many more examples that illustrate a Christian worldview focused on diversity.
Building Unity Through Diversity
How can we be unified and diverse at the same time? In Romans 12:12–31, Paul is using the human body to illustrate the body of Christ. Each member is completely different in personality and giftedness, and at the same time, we are all connected and belong to the same body.
It’s common to see different members of the body comparing themselves to other parts of the body. An eye saying to a hand, “I don’t need you!” seems ridiculous, but we do the same thing to one another with our thoughts and actions within our churches. Even though we’re different, we belong to one body, and ultimately belong to Christ.
If this is taken seriously, it it will change the way we treat one another. We will do a better job of communicating, supporting, and taking care of one another. Think about the strong bond that is formed when we unify around God’s values and mission.
Just like our sanctification, our personal growth takes time and effort. Have an honest discussion with your family or Lifegroup and pray that God works to shape your hearts. Ask God to change your wrong attitudes and open doors of opportunity to bring him glory.