Another proof of discipleship is “unity.” I have written about this recently, a couple of times. So, this will be a short reminder.
Before he went to the cross, Jesus prayed that his disciples would be as united as he and the Father were united. And that unity is a demonstration, that the Father sent Jesus into the world, to call the world back to him.
And Jesus, the Father, and the Holy spirit have perfect unity. God’s children do not have perfect unity. But they should have an observable, practical, concrete unity. This unity should be built on love. So, we should be especially patient with one another. We should be especially kind to one another. We should bear with one another’s weaknesses, sins, “wrong” opinions, and bad decisions. It is that unity, which proclaims that Jesus is the Messiah, which proclaims that God’s children are followers of the true Creator, and true Ruler. The way we act out our unity is a very loud voice in the world.
Imagine someone discussing the positives and negatives of different political candidates. People often say to not discuss religion or politics. This is because people can very emotional over these topics. A discussion can get very heated, to put it mildly. But because of the huge impact on life, these are things that should be discussed most. People invest a lot – emotion, time, energy, resources, identity – in these things.
Now, imagine these persons are part of the family of God. If I am united with my brothers and sisters in a love relationship with my Father, and with one another:
- How do I treat their political views?
- How do I discuss their candidates?
- What words do I use to characterize these things?
- How do I talk with other people, ones that I agree with, in this light?
Do I say to my brother, “I think you have been misinformed about issue ABC?” And say to others, “Anybody who thinks that about issue ABC is stupid.” Does that honor my brother? Does that honor the family of God? And ultimately, does it honor God?
Politics is very complex. I do not say there needs to be complete agreement in the family of God. I do not say there should be no discussion. I do say we need to be mindful that this person, with whom I have political disagreements, is my brother, and Jesus died for him. I still need to love, honor, and serve him, as much as any other member of God’s family.
And how does this color our treatment of people outside of God’s family?