If the message of Jesus Christ is to shine brightly in this dark, broken world than the Church needs to be unified. Jesus himself prayed that His disciples would be one, just as He and the Father are one (John 17:20-21). So often, however, this is not the case. Instead the Church adheres to a viewpoint all too prevalent in our world today—a viewpoint far more perilous than helpful.
I’m talking about “tolerance”. Tolerance lauds our differences while making no effort to draw us together. In favor of acceptance and in fear of offense, tolerance denies the existence of moral absolutes. Ultimately, tolerance proves selfish and destructive, leaving in its wake a mass of shattered lives that could have been spared if someone cared enough to intervene.
Unlike our culture, which pursues the hope of unity along the faulty path of tolerance, the Christian faith is founded instead on truth and love in the person of Jesus Christ. While diversity is wonderful in many ways, in other ways our differences can be outright harmful. And yet, where differences once separated us Jesus now draws us to unity.
Ephesians 2:14 (NIRV) “Christ himself is our peace. He has made Jews and Gentiles into one group of people. He has destroyed the hatred that was like a wall between us.”
Galatians 3:26, 28 (NIRV) – “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God by believing in Christ… There is no Jew or Gentile. There is no slave or free person. There is no male or female. That’s because you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Tolerance is not the path to unity, but Jesus is. True unity can only exist within the Church as we abide in Christ (John 15:5), find our primary identity in Him (Galatians 2:20) and as we conform to the infallible truth of God’s Word (Romans 12:2). Unity is found in Jesus Christ alone, and when we dwell in His love and His truth, the prayer of Jesus is fulfilled and our witness made unshakeable.
This article was written to appear in the Pastor’s Column of the Steel County Times newspaper.