This past weekend I was able to speak to my high school kids about the concept of unity, explaining not only what it means, but that every act of unity is not actually beneficial for our culture and for people in general. When you think of the word unity what comes to mind? Normally when I think of unity I think of people of different background; socio-economic, religious, cultural and the like coming together for a common purpose. This definition is true. If you look up the definition of unity on google it will define the term as, the state of being united or joined as a whole. If you look up the word unity in the actual dictionary (Merriam-Webster to be exact) you will see it has 6 definitions: 1. oneness, 2. harmony or accord, 3. unification, 4. entity of a systematic whole, 5. a single action represented on one day or place, and 6. a 20th century American religious movement that emphasizes spiritual sources of health and prosperity. If you decide to also look up the word unity in a bible dictionary (Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary to be exact) you would see the word is defined as, a state of being undivided; having oneness, a condition of harmony.
Why are the definitions of this word relevant? Unity in our country and world can look very different depending on where you are in the world, who you are, what you are standing up for, and who you are standing up with. The picture of unity (depending on the above) can be widely accepted or completely detestable to others. I think along with many other lessons this pandemic has taught us this past year is the lesson that mankind is not meant to be alone. We were made for relationship with others and give love and receive love. When we are united to others we can do amazing things! But going back to the original question, are all acts of unity beneficial to others and/or for the common good?
In Acts 2:1 the bible gives a beautiful picture of unity where it says, ‘When the day of Pentecost came they were all together in one place.’
This is the gathering of people in one mind and heart praising our good Lord and savior Jesus Christ as they received the Holy Spirit 10 days after Christ ascended back to Heaven! Of course this is an absolute perfect example of unity. In our culture within different religions and ethnic backgrounds there are movements of ‘acquired unity‘ all around. There are families coming together for a common purpose (and because they’re family of course), they are people of similar beliefs and organizations getting together for a cause all the time. After all, when people work together it is much more effective than working alone. The thing about unity though, if you are a Christian, it should be backed by Godly standards or at the very least not stand against what the word of God says. For example, last year I had the privilege of walking with thousands of women and men in the united front of being pro-life and standing up for those who have no voice. It was a wonderful experience and something I believe God himself was a part of, because it stood for life.
Like I explained to my bible study class not all acts of unity are beneficial. If the act of unity goes against Godly standards or his word, it is not a movement to stand behind no matter what the billboards say or what the leader tries to persuade you of. For example, the Pro-Choice Movement is not something God would back as it takes away innocent life thus not a beneficial movement to support, neither other Movements that promote pride, hate, and lawlessness which go against the word of God. How do you know the action of unity goes against the word of God? Is the movement bringing good things or breeding dissension and division? Is the movement bringing anxiety and even segregation, then it is most likely not a movement that is beneficial. When the movement is moving away from the things of the spirit and works primarily in the things of the flesh. Am I saying all these people are terrible and evil no I am saying the things they are doing and standing for are going against Godly morals and standards thus we, as Christ followers cannot stand with them in good conscience. Every person is made in God’s image, we are love everyone, we are to pray for them, but not support what goes against the Lord. He is our first priority.
Galations 5:19-21 says the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fists of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherent the kingdom of God.
Galations 5:21-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
So you see, unity can be a beautiful thing when honoring God in the midst, it can also be a dangerous, destructive thing when done with pride, arrogance, and strife against the word of God. Know who and what you stand for and stand with those who stand with God. This is the time to be bold and stand up in His name when it appears our culture has another agenda.