A tote bag full of diverse flowers shows the strength of unity while keeping diversity.

The Strength of Unity: 3 Keys to Finding Common Ground as People of Faith

My husband is a pastor who is also the mayor in our city. This makes for interesting conversations around our kitchen table. To keep the peace, etiquette experts advise people to avoid talking about religion and politics. We don’t follow that rule. Instead, we welcome conversations with people from a wide variety of views. Despite living in a divided culture, this mindset has made it possible for us to experience a strength of unity in our relationships. 

But not always. Like everyone else, we have lost friends over disagreements. Because, let’s face it, we tend to focus on our differences, rather than our commonalities. And while Matthew 5:44 tells us to love our enemies, too often we find ourselves making enemies of our friends and blocking them on social media.  

How can we cultivate unity in a culture that threatens to separate and divide us? Here are three keys to help you overcome differences and find common ground as people of faith. 

Strength of Unity Does not Mean Uniformity 

Unity does not mean that we think and act the same as everyone else. In fact, it’s okay to not talk alike, look alike, or even vote alike. By welcoming another’s uniqueness, a sense of community can be experienced around kitchen tables, on social media, and in our churches.  

The early Christian church was comprised of many diverse groups of people. Jews and Gentiles were part of the church, as well as free and enslaved believers. Can you imagine the different perspectives each of those groups brought into the room? 

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul encouraged the early church, with all its different backgrounds, to operate as the body of Christ, each with an important job to do. 1 Corinthians 12:12 (NIV) says, “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” 

Do you want to enjoy unity amidst diversity? Welcome those in Christ’s body who are different than you. 

A diverse group of Christians holds hands while praying during Bible study showing the strength in unity.

Strength of Unity Occurs When We Consider Our Words 

Social media has given every person a platform. The screen gives a false sense of protection from the real world, often spilling over into our relationships. 

One day while scrolling through my phone, I found myself strongly disagreeing with a friend’s post. As I prepared to type a scathing reply, I reconsidered. Was I willing to risk our friendship over this difference?  

In the book, Analog Christian: Cultivating Contentment, Resilience, and Wisdom in the Digital Age, author Jay Y. Kim, writes, “To speak and be heard in the deafening noise of the polarizing issues of our day, contempt is the only microphone available.” Kim encouraged an alternate way, for people “to be nuanced, generous, balanced, and kind” (p. 52). 

Proverbs 12:18 (NIV) states, “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”  

I decided to wait and speak kindly with my friend, face-to-face. 

Do you want to maintain unity when you disagree? Consider your words. 

Strength of Unity Occurs When We Give Space for Growth 

A new attender at our church admitted he had no knowledge of the story of Jonah, the Old Testament prophet who spent time in the belly of a fish. Rather than respond with superiority, I welcomed the fresh perspective he brought to our conversation as a new lover of Jesus.  

In our fast-paced society, it is important to slow down, to walk gently alongside those who are still learning. To invite them to step closer rather than push them away. And to be gentle in the still-learning places we find inside ourselves.  

Ephesians 4:2-3 (NIV) says, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” 

Our circle of unity expands when we give space for growth

Listen now to a short segment of this Abide meditation based on Ephesians 4:2-3. Let God speak to your heart about finding strength in unity with those around you. 

Unity is Possible 

It is possible to experience the strength of unity when we embrace uniqueness, control our words, and give space for growth in our relationships. As we walk with Jesus and the people He loves, we can overcome differences and find common ground as people of faith.  

For more help experiencing the strength of unity, check out the Abide app. Our more than 1500 biblical meditations all exist to help you grow closer to God. As you do, you will gain His heart for all His beloved children. Download the Abide app and start a premium subscription. This will unlock our entire library of content. Use this link for 25% off. 

Lynne is the author of Under a Desert Sky: Redefining Hope, Beauty, and Faith in the Hardest Places and a contributing author on multiple books for Guideposts. She and her husband love hiking in the desert near their home in Chandler, Arizona. 

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