Abraham Lincoln once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand” (Matthew 12:25). He should know, he led the country through the most tumultuous time in our history. See, unity is woven into the very fabric of our nation. It took unity to form our nation, it has taken unity to sustain our nation, along with our liberties and freedoms that we experience, and it will take unity to preserve our nation for the future generations of Americans. Without a shadow of a doubt, unity is essential to the health of a nation, both present and future. In fact, strength as a nation can only be found in unity. Yet, today, I am not seeing a lot of unity in our country. We are literally divided on every single issue we face as a country. From gun control, to race relations, to climate change, to immigration, there exists no cohesiveness in opinions surrounding these issues. In fact, when discussing these issues, we enter the conversation divided, because we stick to the platforms of our political parties or the opinions of our favorite news media or talk show hosts. We are either a Republican or Democrat, a conservative or liberal, African-American or White, wealthy or poor, but not an American.
Conversely, you could also make the same argument about Christianity. We are divided on most issues we face spiritually. Right now, there are over 40,000 different denominations within the Christian religion, each with their own interpretations and opinions of scripture. Peter wrote, in the first epistle of Peter. “Finally, all of you have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind” (1 Peter 3:8). This book was written to Churches in Asia Minor who were suffering religious persecution. Paul wrote in First Corinthians, “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought” (1 Cor. 1:10). This book of scripture was written to correct the fallacious views in the Corinthian Church. I sense none of the unifying concepts such as the aforementioned, that chief apostles Paul and Peter taught and Jesus Christ inspired, being practiced in Christianity. The truth of the matter is, we have let our own ideologies and personal interpretations of God’s Word divide us into sects and groups where we can no longer agree on the simplest of spiritual concepts. Much like our nation, as children of God, we are no longer united; there exists no cohesiveness within our doctrine and teachings. We are separated and shall continue to be separated until we seek unconditional truth and love, in its purest form through God’s Word. When Christians are divided, our convictions falter, our message no longer resonates with those who are seeking the love of God, and our faith becomes weakened. As a result, our nation suffers. Does the dysfunctional and divided state of our society not directly correlate with the state of Christianity today? Woodrow Wilson once said, “You cannot become thorough Americans if you think of yourselves in groups. America does not consist of groups. A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular national group has not yet become an American.” If you replace Americans with the word Christians, the quote reads as such, “You cannot become thorough Christians if you think of yourselves in groups. Christianity does not consist of groups. A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular Christian group has not yet become a Christian.” If you have followed the plan of salvation correctly, and become a Christian, then you are, first and foremost, a Christian. That relationship trumps any particular group or sect of Christianity.
I would like to leave you with two thoughts. First, as Christians, I pray that we can put our differences aside as children of the creator and achieve unity through one doctrine, based solely on the pure teachings of the bible, and ultimately becoming one mind, one body, and one spirit (Ephesians 4:5). Secondly, as a nation, I pray that we heed the advice of the great Abraham Lincoln, along with so many other forefathers, and unite because of our differences before we falter because of those differences. In order to do so, we must follow the words that Paul wrote in Colossians, “And over all of these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:14)