a grafiti wall that reads 'unity in diversity'

Psalm 133; Daniel 1:1-21; Acts 2:42-47

"How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! Psalm 133:1

I think that I often do not really consider what it means to for God’s people to “live together in unity.” Far too often when I think about this I think of some sort of an ideal all happy, all the time, kind of community.

Here’s the thing, that’s not reality.

Human beings will not live together in tight knit community without conflict. Unity, does not mean absence of conflict. True unity goes through conflict and comes out the other side with deeper relationships and and a clearer understanding of what it means to be in unity.

Could it be that the beauty of living in unity is the ability to engage in conflict without breaking relationship?

I think that it might be.

Unity, I think, is centered on our identity as followers of Christ.

In the Psalm and the passage in Daniel, the identity of those people are worshipers of the one true God. On this side of the resurrection this is one and the same as follower of Christ.

If we are going to be able dwell in unity, it is because we start with the end in mind. That end is that we are in Christ. When we are committed to this end we can enter into conflict and come out the other side in deeper relationship. For instance, in my marriage Amy and I will occasionally have conflict. When we do, we dig into it and figure it out. On the other side of that conflict is a deeper relationship. To do this demands that we have a clear sense of who we are in our marriage. Our identity as a married couple frees us to enter into conflict and yet remain in unified.

The same must be true in broader in people of God. For us to “dwell in unity” we have to regain our sense of identity so we can engage in healthy conflict. It seems to me that we have lost some of this, broadly.

Today I’m wrestling with, “how can I be a voice of unity without avoiding conflict?”