Have you ever dumped a jig-saw puzzle on the table and instantly felt confused? It’s frustrating because you know the pieces are supposed to fit together and make a larger picture, but until that occurs all you have is a big mess. It takes each piece being joined together for the picture to be accurately portrayed.
I think the Church is designed in much of the same way. I think we are supposed to fit together, despite our individual differences, to portray the image of Christ. However, for far too long we have chosen instead to argue and divide over our differences.
Individuality isn’t the enemy of the Church, division is
I think the unity that God desires for His church isn’t based on having a singular style of worship music, dress code, or culture. I think His desire is that we have a singular purpose and singular end to our worship. In Ephesians 4:2-6, Paul explains the importance of unity and the lays out the fact we are all called to the same hope, which is Jesus Christ.
For the Church to be most effective, it takes individual communities living out their God-given passions with a united purpose of reaching others with the love of Christ. This means that you are going to reach someone I can’t reach and I am going to to reach someone you can’t reach. We should be celebrating this, not demonizing it.
Depending on geographical location and culture this may look different in varying degrees. Your music, your attire, or your culture may differ, but regardless of these differences the heartbeat should remain the same. Simply put, we don’t have to look the same to love the same God.
Disagreement doesn’t require division
Disagreement is going to occur. It’s inevitable. It’s simply not possible for agreement to always take place. However, when disagreement does occur this doesn’t mean that it’s time to push away from community until someone agrees with you.
Have a conversation instead. Choose to love one another despite the disagreement. I’m convinced that this world needs more of our love and less of our opinions.
The Church is supposed to be a family and when I disagree with someone in my family I don’t just walk away forever because we disagreed. And I especially don’t get on Facebook and air our dirty laundry for the world to see and hear. I have a conversation about the disagreement and attempt to meet somewhere in the middle with them.
Choose unity over your way; it’s worth it.
As the Church, we should be all about Jesus. His love, His grace, and His mercy should permeate our lives. It should become our identity.
In John 17:23, Jesus describes the world coming to know Jesus through the unified belief of His Church.
“I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” John 17:23
I think this only happens if we are committed to the message of the Gospel. It’s easy to become distracted with telling the world all about who and what the Church is against. It’s easy to waste time arguing the best way to “do church”. And we can debate the details of church until we are blue in the face, but that doesn’t change lives.
This world desperately needs Jesus and it’s our job to fit together, despite our differences, to show them Christ. My hope is that we will become so busy being the Church that we won’t have time to argue about how to “do church”.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.