Many people looking back on the last couple of years would conclude they rank among the most divisive years our country has seen since perhaps the American Civil War. It’s been said that even brothers took up arms to fight against each other in that tragic war which stemmed from deep political differences. In recent years it often seems like way too much energy has gone into building silos rather than building bridges. I saw an example of that in recent years in my own family when one of my four brothers announced that he was disowning several of us over political views. We tried responding that family unity is bigger than politics but he still disowned us. He was more eager to be right (e.g., to get us to come over to his silo) than to maintain our family’s tradition of unity. It breaks my heart to think about it.

The Apostle Paul outlined a much different approach for the church when he admonished believers to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:3) Even within the body of Christ unity doesn’t always come about naturally. Every believer comes from unique life experiences and although we follow the same shepherd we may still have differences of opinion. When this occurs, it’s crucial to remember that Christ went to the cross to restore unity between fallen humanity and their Creator. Knowing this, we are called to make every effort to maintain unity within the church through leaning upon the Holy Spirit.

There may be instances when different sheep in the flock pick up a different meaning in the shepherd’s voice. That can happen in the church as well. God may have wired us to hear and respond differently. However, if this occurs we can still celebrate differences with other believers while seeking to understand one another’s unique point of view. I once heard someone compare the church to a diamond with many different facets. As believers, we are all cut from the same stone by the blood of the Lamb, but we each reflect His image a bit differently. The point of the diamond analogy is that many different facets of a well-cut diamond each reflect the light differently, but this is precisely what enhances its beauty.

Whatever way God has shaped you, we can all be a reflection of the heart of Christ. There are so many dimensions of love and truth in His heart that we need all members of the body of Christ, each shining in our way, to reflect the fullness of His love. May we strive together to let our light shine and may the Spirit bring out the true beauty!

Pastor Dave Korinek

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