I know I’m not alone in being frustrated by the growing divisions among Christians. I keep a tight watch over what is allowed on my social media feeds, but I’m still surprised to see how many believers make distinctions over race, heritage, denominations, political views, sports teams, etc. These artificial categories separate us rather than bring us together.
As a group that’s supposed to be united, its members look more like the disciples arguing among themselves at the Last Supper: “Then a dispute arose among them about who should be considered the greatest” (Luke 22:24 HCSB). If a trivial dispute arose in Jesus’ presence, how much more susceptible are we to fall into the same trap now? Isn’t our current separation the result of pride, just as it was then?
A Distraction from the True Focus
Our divisions are actually idols, as we elevate and favor our personal preferences and opinions above a focus on Jesus Christ and His commandment to love Him and love our neighbors as ourselves. Even when we take our eyes off Jesus and focus instead on fighting an injustice such as racism, we run the risk of becoming divided over methods and strategies. The attempt to eliminate social evils through our own strength and wisdom — rather than through dependence on Jesus — can cause more problems than it solves. And the same can happen when we focus on our victories when they’re rooted in pride rather than humility.
Behind the Same Cross
What might we accomplish for the Lord if we focused less on unnecessary divisions and more on biblical solutions? Scripture gives us abundant practical advice and examples on how to work together in unity. For example, consider how Nehemiah rallied the families of Jerusalem to rebuild the walls of the city in just 52 days. They worked as a team, some building and others standing guard, recognizing that they had to put aside any differences for the sake of completing the task at hand. The Lord hates strife among the brothers (and sisters) (Prov 6:19), confirms the goodness of us dwelling together in unity (Psalm 133:1) and urges us to live in harmony in the Lord (Phil 4:2). What if we — following their example — hated our separation more than our differences? Could we line up today, together behind the same cross? Turning away from the competition and distinction would be the ideal tactic to disarm the enemy and end the war within.