It seems like the whole world is fracturing. Look at our own nation. Whether it’s about homelessness, guns, violence, healthcare, or a host of other issues, we are far more divided than united, and it’s not getting any better. Is it just possible God has a better way, that he designed us for more?
1. We’re built to be united.
- From the earliest pages of Scripture, we see that God never intended for us to be divided one from another. He made us to be united to himself and also to each other.
- Each kind of union affects the other. When we’re out of step with God, it’s hard to be united to our Christian brothers and sisters at the same level. And on the other hand, if we’re divided from other believers, we can’t relate to God in the way we ought to either.
Is there any part of your heart in which you have broken unity with God? How is that affecting your relationships with other people, and what can you do to practice unity all across the board?
2. We’re driven to divide.
- Because of the sinfulness we all deal with, we naturally are bent toward divisions in our relationships. We all hold different value sets and come at decisions differently.
- You can see in the lives of Paul and Barnabas that, even though they had shared so much history together, they came to different conclusions about their relationship with John Mark. That caused them to never have fellowship again.
Describe a time recently an issue has divided you from another fellow believer. What was the issue? How can you make amends in that relationship?
3. We’re better together than apart.
- Our fates relationally don’t have to be the same as that of Paul and Barnabas. Differences and disagreements don’t have to mean division.
- What keeps us from dividing over our differences is empathy. If we can feel with people and understand why they are deciding what they are deciding, then we can love them, even if we don’t see eye-to-eye. Unity is made possible by love, which is only made possible by Jesus Christ.
As you examine your own heart, do you find that you are able to love people by seeking to understand their differences and also seek God’s best for them? What do you need to change or do differently so that you can love others in the way Christ commands?
Optional Follow-up Questions:
- What makes you say that?
- How do you feel about that?
- How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor?
- Why did God design it to work that way? Why not just do (whatever else) instead?
- What would you say to someone who disagrees with that?
- Why do we really have to do it like that? Why can’t we just go (some other route) instead?