In case you missed it, I posted about unity within the Christian church at Gospel-Centered Discipleship last week:
“Wait, you’re telling me there is only one church we can attend in the whole country? I mean, like the whole entire country?” I’ve never been one to dance around a topic.
“Of course not,” the new acquaintance and much more experienced missionary told me. “There are many gospel-centered churches here, but this is the only one with services in English.”
That made sense given we had just moved to a Spanish-speaking country in Central America. But, in any circumstance, the thought of being boxed in tends to prompt my fight or flight response. So I wasn’t super excited about this church being our only option. Aside from jumping in a time machine to go back and switch my foreign language classes from French to Spanish, I had no other options.
This was a problem because I, like so many of us, love options. (Have you seen how many flavors of Oreos there are?) Understanding potential alternatives helps me identify and feel confident in my choices. However, I’ve noticed a potential side effect to my search for the best path: a tendency to focus solely on the differences between the options and completely miss the connections. With Oreos this might be okay, but with people, not so much.
The more I study Scripture, the more I am convinced of the danger in this type of thinking. The New Testament, in particular, is filled with instructions for us to seek, maintain, and dwell in unity with other believers (e.g., Rom. 15:5–6, 1 Cor. 1:10; 2 Cor. 13:11; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 4; Phil. 2:1–3). In describing the early church, the writer of Acts says, “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but that they had everything in common” (Acts 4:32). Of course we know people must have had their own possessions before they came together. But they set aside their claim to their differences and chose to focus on what connected them. I wonder if prioritizing what connects me with other Christ-followers is actually the best path to unity?