“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.”
We are all witnesses to the division that exists today within America. And everywhere we hear the cries for unity among all Americans. We hear it from politicians. We hear it from protesters. We hear it on social media. And we know that unity is important if our nation is to continue to survive and thrive. As Jesus said in Matthew 12:25, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”
But in order for there to be unity, there has to be something that we all agree on as the focus of our unification. I used to think that our flag and patriotism for our nation would be that unifying thing. But the recent NFL protests have shown that there is no unity on that subject today in America. What about our freedoms and the liberty we enjoy that most of the world is envious of? When some Americans protest free speech rallies and deny freedom of speech to other groups of people it is evident that there is no unity there either. What about Christian values upon which our nation was founded? Surely Americans can agree on those. But continual attempts to remove Christianity and the Bible from our culture prove otherwise. How about law & order? Targeted shootings of police officers, violent protests, disrespect of government officials or those in authority on social media, sanctuary cities, and politically motivated investigations and judicial rulings demonstrate that Americans are divided there as well.
In America there has always been political disagreement. That’s normal and also why we have two political parties. Americans have differing ideas about how to best solve our national problems and our democratic process and freedom of speech are supposed to assure that every viewpoint is heard. In the past we usually found ways to compromise and keep our disagreements civil. As a matter of fact, people around the world have marveled over how we can have such passionate disagreement every 4 years when we elect a new President but have such a smooth transition of power. But compromise and civility seem to have disappeared from our culture.
So where can find unity in our nation today? Perhaps we can all agree to just disagree. But I doubt that will provide a viable solution in the long run. So unless Americans can find a common issue or value we can all agree upon our nation will continue to devolve into various factions and will ultimately fall from within. I currently do not see a unifying value in our culture based on my observations the past several years. But I do know how America can bring civility back into our nation.
The only hope for America (and the world), and the only true unifying value available, is God’s Word and the cross of Christ. All of our conflicts and all of our disunity ultimately result from turning our backs on God and allowing evil and our sinful nature to take over and guide our behavior. His principles for living are contained in His Word and they teach us to love our enemies (Matt. 5:44), to be humble (1 Peter 5:6), to submit to authority (Romans 13:1-2), to look to the good of others (1 Cor. 10:24), to be gentle and respectful (1 Peter 3:15), and to hate evil and cling to what is good (Romans 12:9). These are the values that Christ represents and that our nation had recognized for many years. Even though we often failed to keep them, they were still the guide for our society and our nation respected them.
God created the world and every human being in it. He sent His Son Jesus to not only redeem us from our sin but to be an example for us to follow as well. Belief in His Son Jesus and trust in His Word are the only answers that can bring civility and unity to all of us. That’s because His Word describes the reasons for our conflict perfectly and Jesus provided the only solution for it. Paul wrote in Galatians 5:17 that “the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with one each other so that you do not do what you want.” Furthermore, James writes in James 4:2 that “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” It is clear that our disunity and conflict with each other comes from the sin inside each of us.
So what solution did Jesus provide? First, He willingly went to the cross to pay the penalty for our sin so that we are no longer condemned by it (1 John 2:2). Second, He defeated death and the grave to give us the hope of eternal life (John 3:16). And third, He sent the Holy Spirit to help us overcome our sinful nature so that we can now live righteous and holy lives (John 14:26) in peace with one another.
Jesus is the only solution to our conflict problem. Without Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross for us, it is every man for himself, a dreadful thought indeed! We will only find unity and peace when all people acknowledge the Bible as Truth (2 Corinthians 3:16-17) and Jesus as Lord (Romans 14:11).
As Christians, we already profess Christ and acknowledge God’s Word as Truth. Let us now strive to lead others to Jesus and God’s Word in order to bring His Peace and true Unity into our world this Christmas!
Merry Christmas everyone!