Read Psalm 133
Focus on verse 1
Some of the current media reports I have been reading have been correctly observing that America is more divided today than it has been in a long time. We are divided by race, by economic position, by gender, by politics, and by religion just to name a few. All these divisive issues pit friends and neighbor one against another at a time when we need unity more than anything. The coming presidential election is serving only to multiply the issues over which to disagree exponentially.
In today’s reading David writes of “how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.” (v. 1) As divided as our nation has become, there are still pockets of people who continue to defy the status quo and refuse to let it turn them into haters.
If there is to be any hope for this nation to recover from the brink of disaster that it is perched upon, it will begin with people who agree to love and respect each other despite their differences of opinion in regard to matters of faith and politics. It is fine to have opinions. We all do. It is even fine…perhaps even essential to have opportunity to express those opinions, what there is little room for is for me to be offended by your opinion to the degree where I choose to hate you. What does the most damage relationally to society is when I allow the things that offend me to cause me to demonize and seek to destroy those who hold an opinion unlike my own.
The opposite of how good it is when brothers dwell in unity is how bad it is when brothers allow their differences to cause them to hate one another. It is this hatred that causes us to vilify one another in order to justify murdering one another at best with words and much too often literally. The opposite of dwelling together in unity is choosing to be so offended by the opinion or action of another person or group, that we can justify acts of violence toward them.
What a contrast when we see people with significant differences culturally and socially and politically dwelling together in unity, respecting and loving each other despite the differences because of a greater common love for the God who made and redeemed us all.
I have the unique privilege of currently being involved with a church that shares its building with at least four different cultural groups of people. Brothers and sisters in Christ dwelling in unity despite speaking different languages, despite coming from different cultural backgrounds, despite having different political opinions and a variety of social and economic stations in life. We have one huge thing in common that overrides all the rest. We love God and seek to obey His word, and His word commands us to love one another. His word instructs us to work together in unity to build His kingdom. His word admonishes us to submit to one another out of love for Him. This arrangement is not problem free. There is friction at times, there are frustrations, misunderstandings, even offenses and hurt feelings, but by His grace we are empowered to forgive even as we have been forgiven, which preserves the unity and the relationship.