Lately, I’ve been taking a lot of long social media breaks. Even though my career has led me to start social media for major organizations, co-found (in)courage, and help authors and entrepreneurs creatively utilize social media to grow their businesses, I had become discouraged by my own social media experience.
For me and many others, the social media space started to feel unsafe. I watched as friends ripped each other apart over political preferences, shared their toxic feelings about news stories, and fanned the flames of injustice.
During my social media breaks, I realized I was grieving. I was upset how social media had not unified us but showcased how divided we truly are — and not just from a political, racial, and social standpoint. These divisions looked the same in the body of Christ as they do in the world. Yet God calls us to unity.
Before you get uncomfortable with the word unity, let me clarify.
Unity is not asking you to conform. God does not want us to be the same as each other. We are not bricks made by human design but precious stones coming together to hold His presence as the church.
Unity is not a call to same-ness. God made us each unique in the color of our skin, the texture of our hair, the imagination we hold, the gifts we prepare, the places we dwell, the job we are assigned, the way we each love, and the care we need. We are to live as His individual masterpieces, all around the globe and next door, in every color and culture, glorifying God with our uniqueness and celebrating others for theirs.
Unity is not a word created by current culture. During the last supper, Jesus prayed for you and I and all future believers. If some of Jesus’ last words were to us and on our behalf, I think they hold a lot of weight.
What was His prayer about? Unity.
I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
John 17:20-23 (NIV)
Jesus gave us the secret for the purpose of unity and the only way to achieve it. Without the Holy Spirit’s power, unity is impossible.
You and I are one with Jesus and are to be one with each other, just as Jesus and God the Father are one. You and I are to be intertwined with Jesus, just as He is with the Father. Only then can we be fully connected to each other.
God’s goal for us is to be one, unified with Jesus and each other.
Did you notice why Jesus told us to be one? So that the world may believe God sent Him to save the world. So that our neighbors, those we really don’t like and those we would consider evil, would know that God loves each of them like He loved Jesus.
Let that love remove the frustration, bitterness, fear and rage. Let that love remove the hate you have in your heart towards another that looks, acts, or votes different than you. Let that love propel you to look for ways to unify.
Let the goal of winning the argument, trial, or election be overshadowed by your holy assignment — to be intertwined with Jesus, tethered to each other, and actively pouring out love where it’s not deserved.
The body of Christ needs be stitched back together, each part crucial to this message of sacrificial love. We must be unified to accomplish the goal of the church. And we must confess where we each have fallen short to start the journey to being one.
Will there be conflict along the way? Yes. Unity doesn’t mean there won’t be misunderstanding and disagreement. But there is a unified mission: to love God, love others, and make Jesus known to all, without hurting others in the process.
So, when someone speaks of unity, I agree it sounds impossible, especially in the church. But God reminds me that working towards a goal of unity as the body of Christ is not only our earthly assignment but our preparation for heaven.
God tells us our enemy is not against flesh and blood, and yet we act as though they are, forgetting to protect each other from the real enemy with our prayers and loving action.
God reminds us over and over in Scripture that no person is our King since Jesus holds that honor. And yet we sacrifice friends and family for our preferred elected leader.
God made the nations in all their beauty, colors, and glory, yet we forget to celebrate and protect the differences in our neighborhoods and cities. He has brought us graciously together to learn about all aspects of God’s character through unique cultures, food, languages, and skin tones that make up the tapestry of the creative God we serve.
God wants us to remember unity is His idea.
Our unity is based on the Holy Spirit and the love Jesus has for each of us, not on our common ideals, political party, denomination, race, backgrounds, jobs, opinions, or experiences.
Unity in the Kingdom of God is only achievable by the work of the Holy Spirit, first in our individual lives and then as a collective group. Unity is a miracle of God. Let’s choose to be a part of it online and in real life.Leave a Comment
Ruth Mills says
connie ker says
Thank You for your writing today because social media is being selective now about who can even express on the website. Your writing today brings to my mind the author on “in courage” who spoke about Unity vs. Harmony. I loved her definitions of both words , about how we can live in Harmony, loving one another, even though we have extraordinary differences. Harmony in music brings many different voices with a blend of notes that is more beautiful than just one melody all the same. It has been quite a year with this pandemic and I like starting the day with In Courage. Thank You ladies for sharing your thoughts and faith.
Yes!!! Like when you mentioned that unity is based on the Holy Spirit and the love Jesus has for each of us, not on our common ideals, political party, denomination, race, backgrounds, jobs, opinions, or experiences. Thank you for sharing this today. Will read this again. No Jesus = No peace.
Laura Johnson says
Very well said! A great reminder and challenge to us who claim the name of Jesus. I choose to be part of the miracle!
thank you for writing this. for seeing into my mind and heart and bringing out the words that I somehow have been missing or unable to put together. THIS. IS. TRUTH. amen!
Dear Stephanie, when you lay it all before us like this, it sounds very reasonable. And doable. With the help of the Holy Spirit. But we have to want it to work. I pray we will. Collectively.
Kathy Francescon says
If only your message today, could be seen and heard thru every media available! Such a simple solution really, to all of the hate, evil, disconnect and distention that our country and the world is seeing and dealing with currently. Why can’t we respect and accept and let our differences help grow us instead of dividing us!! I pray ever so fervently for God to intercede and enlighten our darkness. One of these days, it will simply be too late…
Jackie Nowlin says
This is one of the best and most inspiring messages. I have been struggling with my white Christian friends( I am white). We are to love one another and this is the most important commandment. Lead with love and respect not hate and intolerance. The church has not been a place lately where I hear this message. Thank you so much
Amen! Thank you for sharing, Stephanie! I needed this ❤️
Allison Wixted says
Thank you for this healing message, Stephanie! This issue has been on my heart for months and your words gave me a chance to process it through a new lens!
Allen McCorkle says
Allison are you Joanna’s sister?
Tristi Carlson says
Sharah Winsett says
Amen! Unity is indeed a miracle from God; a miracle that is available to each and every one of us.
Amen and so true. Decision’s the prerequisite.
Beth Williams says
God made us each unique. It is alright to agree to disagree. Trouble is everyone thinks their opinions are right & to disagree is wrong. We’ve forgotten how to live in unity or harmony. There isn’t any love or compassion out there. It seems like we’ve broken off from the vine, wandered off & got lost on our journey. High time we go back & reconnect with the vine. Start showing some love & understanding towards everyone. Quit looking at race, color, creed or ideologies & see the person. Get to know them & show them a little love. I’m taking a stand to show unity online & in person.
sarah beall says
This article spoke to my heart and put into words what I have felt for months. Thank you!