I don’t keep up with the news or politics or anything like that. What I know, I know mostly from listening to people’s conversations.
But I know enough.
I know there’s a lot of unrest, a lot of fighting, a lot of pain, a lot of fear, a lot of hate–in short, a lot of everything that shouldn’t be! People are screaming at each other, calling each other names, putting each other down, even hurting and killing each other–and each side says they’re right. Their way, their views, and their beliefs are correct, and you better agree or they’re gonna be against you.
And this verse I read in my devotions is perfect for times like these. For any time really, but seemingly especially in this day and age.
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, … that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united…1 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV)
The King James Version uses the word “beseech” instead of “appeal.” Either way, you (or at least I) get the mental picture of Paul imploring, pleading, begging. “Please, brothers and sisters, please! I’m asking you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Please, don’t let there be divisions among you! Be perfectly united!”
Please, brothers and sisters, fellow countrymen, fellow human beings. Please, don’t let there be divisions.
Don’t let the color of people’s skin make any difference to you whatsoever.
Don’t let someone’s political views affect your treatment of them.
Don’t let different beliefs and opinions come between you.
Don’t let anything like that determine the way you love others.
Because we’re all the same in so many ways, in ways that actually matter: each one of us is a human being with an eternal soul, created in the image of the God of the universe, and loved–absolutely, unconditionally, eternally loved–by that same God.
And we Christians are called and commanded to love like He does. “Love one another, as I have loved you,” Jesus told His disciples in John 15:12. He didn’t say, “Love all those like you,” or “Love everyone who is anti-homosexuality, anti-abortion, anti-racism, anti-communism, etc., etc.” There were no guidelines, no boundaries, no whatever–it was just “love one another. As I love you.”
That’s a tall order. And you know what? We can’t. We can’t love each other like that, can’t have the same love Jesus does. Maybe we can love some people like that–but not everyone. No, not everyone. We just can’t do it.
Unless we allow Jesus to love through us. Unless we let Him come into our lives, into our hearts, and control us. Unless we open ourselves up and give ourselves over to Him, surrendered to His will, willing to do whatever is in His plan for us.
Then, and only then, can we love one another as Jesus loves us. Only by and through and with Him can we do it.
There’s a song by Tenth Avenue North called “Love Anyway.” It talks about being divided and how “we’re known for who we’re against.” Then it asks, “Lord, help me To love anyway.”
Is that our prayer? My prayer? That we would “stop drawing lines” and that God would show us “how to love them how You love me”? Do we, along with Paul, beseech that there’d be no divisions among us?
I realize that Paul was speaking to believers, to the Church. But I think we can apply the thought to our relationships with non-believers as well. Yes, we can’t be “best buds,” and we need to stick to our Bible-based beliefs–but does it have to divide us? Have to cause friction?
Let’s desire to be called a “repairer of the breach” (Isaiah 58:12). Let’s “be perfectly united.” In love. In Jesus Christ our Lord.
I beseech you.
P.S. What are your thoughts on this? 😊