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  • John Whitehead

Diversity and Unity

The cry for “diversity and unity” seems to be at the forefront of every issue we face today.

Unbeknownst to many, this is because these are biblical issues. Unity is Jesus’ prayer for His Followers. While diversity is seen in creation itself.


The interesting part is “diversity and unity” seem to take on an entirely different meaning in both the world and in the Church today. Diversity has become an issue of equality, equity, race, gender, sexuality, and political persuasion. While being unified has been limited to agreeing with no room for a differing opinion or point of view.


This has led to an atmosphere where both “diversity and unity” have become nearly impossible.


Why?


Perhaps it is because our diversity is as easily seen in our thoughts and perspectives as in our appearance and ideologies. Just as unity is in what we have in common, not in whether we agree.


The desire to achieve harmony around these two issues, though noble, will never be attained if we do not accept our differences as normal and natural instead of expecting someone else to acknowledge we are different, understand our plight and conform to our way of thinking.


I often wonder how different our world would be if we could appreciate our differences while allowing someone else to appreciate theirs. How different would life be if I was able to focus on what I have in common with someone instead of constantly focusing on what sets us apart.


The difficulty in all of this is the self-centered, self-absorbed, self-focused life we all live.


The truth is “unity and diversity” are not possible for mankind outside of God. Knowing this should reinforce the need for a Godly focus in a world where He is an afterthought, if He is thought about at all.


Sadly, this can be said about the Church of Jesus Christ too.


You may say, not my church. We spend a lot of time focusing on diversity and the need for unity. In fact, we are adding staff who are not like most of our congregation. We are going into communities who do not represent the primary demographic of our church.


We are doing so with a wholehearted desire to show we love and care for people.


These are noble things when done with a noble heart. But if this is being done because it makes us feel virtuous, or to give the appearance or impression of “diversity and unity”, we are better off not doing it at all.


You see, to be truly diverse and unified, our focus must be on our own minds and hearts. Not on our appearance and point of view as they relate to others. We must believe there is One God, One Lord, and One Spirit. Then we must see each other as He sees us, diverse in every way and yet unified in our belief in Him.


If we can see each other the way our Lord does, “diversity and unity” will not only be seen by the world, but it will also be the outflow of our heart and will unite us, while drawing people to Him.


If not, our desire for “diversity and unity” will be as phony as the rest of the world believes it is. From here, the question becomes, is their room for a thought as diverse as this in your world today??


Ephesians 4:4-6, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.



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