May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:23
Since peace and unity are essential to an effective Christian witness, you can be sure that there is someone who will do all he can to promote conflict and division among believers. Satan, whose name means “adversary,” likes nothing better than to see us at odds with one another. “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8b).
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 50
Food for Thought
Have you heard the saying, in essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity?
“Satan…likes nothing better than to see us at odds with one another.” It seems like one of the ways we as believers end up at odds with one another is by focusing on how odd one another is; in other words, by focusing on what is peculiar or distinct about us. Yes, it’s true that we’re not all the same, but it’s also true that we share much in common.
Now this is not a call for mindless ecumenicism. We must be wise in determining what is “essential” and what is “non-essential.” And though there are many “non-essentials” we differ on (you can insert your list of differences here), we still must remember that we share much common ground. Look at how much we have in common according to Ephesians 4:4-6: “There is one body and one Spirit– just as you were called to one hope when you were called– one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Believers that stand together on the essentials and love one another provide an effective Christian witness and create a united front against the hungry, roaring lion.
Look around, being at odds with another is everywhere. Look at newspaper, gossip rags, blogs, TV, etc. We, as a people, love to see tragedy, strife and war. Our natural inclination is not to love one another, we don’t just naturally look at someone else and see what is the same about them, we look at their differences.