America is more politically and socially divided today than ever before in our history. You can hear it in almost every news story on the nightly news. It’s not just on the steps of the county courthouse that you hear these deep arguments between factions in our country, this divide is starting to affect every aspect of our society. This great social experiment that we call American democracy was founded on in the laboratory of debate over different opinions. Some of the most brilliant aspects of our society came as a result of rigorous, gracious, and honest debate over very different ideas. These were the very principles that forged us into one nation, under God, indivisible.
What happens to a society when they are no longer willing to graciously and honestly debate differing ideas? Our country’s ability to find brilliant answers to tough questions usually came through rigorous debate. There can be no one winner in a complex society like the United States. Both sides of the political spectrum lose when the debate ends. When one side of the political divide is no longer willing to hear the honest opinions of the other side- we have become one nation… Divided!?!
This divide is growing greater every day. We need unity in our country more today than ever before. This blog will answer where real unity can be found.
The heart of our problems
The problems that are pulling us apart as a nation don’t come from outside of us. The problems that we face originate from our heart. People with fractured hearts create fractured families. Fractured families create fractured societies. You can throw a lot of resources at the problems that are causing division in our society… Until we address the hard problem those resources are only temporary solutions to permanent problems. They can’t fix the real issue. We need a heart level solution to a heart level problem.
Tensions in communities all across our country, arguments between pundits on the nightly news, and problems in your neighborhood ultimately boil down to heart level issues. We all have our personal preferences. There is nothing wrong with holding personal preferences. However, these personal preferences become heart problems when you start to criticize another’s preference over your own. We have taken this much farther than criticism however, now we have started to attack the person who holds a different opinion than us. In other words, the divisions in our country have caused us to start to view the other person as a bad person just because they hold a differing viewpoint. This is the crazy train. We are all headed for anarchy if something doesn’t change.
What a united church can do
We desperately need a heart change in America, but how do you change the human heart? Only God’s church has an answer to this problem. When Jesus created a community of believers in the New Testament these were men and women from very different walks of life. They came from different countries. They had very different ethnicities. They also came from different socioeconomic backgrounds.
On the day of Pentecost, after Jesus’s death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit fell on men and women – young and old – educated and illiterate alike. I like to refer to this as the birthday of the Christian church. When the Holy Spirit came on Jesus’s people it got people’s attention. People from many nations watched and heard this event unfold. The one common characteristic for people of every nation was they saw different people in perfect unity. In fact, people from many different languages could understand what these disciples were saying in their own language. While the world the was watching and listening they saw the unity among God’s people, and it attracted them like moths to a flame.
What a united church shows a divided country
I believe America desperately needs to see a unified church today. The American people need to see men and women from different ethnic cities, and genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds united in fellowship and worship. This kind of unity across boundaries is very powerful any day in any society. The type of first century biblical unity that I’m describing in this blog today would shine like a laser into the darkness for all the world to see.
A divided country needs desperately to see a united church. This type of unity breeds hope. People start to believe that if men and women can bridge their divides at church then perhaps, we can do it in the marketplace as well. When the church shows genuine unity, people start to believe that maybe this is possible in the White House or in the capital building as well. I have always wanted to see the kind of biblical unity that is demonstrated in the book of Acts. However, I believe our country needs to see it today more than ever before. A unified church is a powerful witness in a divided society to the greatness of God and his ability to change the human heart! My prayer today is… God, make your church a beacon of hope in the dark community. Give your church unity that sets the example for the rest of our society!