“I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4: 1-3
It can be tempting to view the early church through rose colored glasses and imagine that there was a time when Christians all got along and pretty much saw things the same way. The truth of the matter, though, is that discord and division have always been present in Christian community. The good news is that the New Testament Scriptures therefore present much sound wisdom concerning how to rise above rancor and find common purpose.
In the present day, as tensions and distrust have risen to exceedingly high levels nationally, we Christians should draw from our spiritual traditions to model a different path. In sum, we should be good at overcoming division because we’ve had 2,000 years of practice!
What Paul urges us towards in the above passage of Ephesians, is the practice of focusing first on being the best people we can be. Every human interaction is a setting for us to model either our highest aspirations, or our lowest impulses. Which is it going to be? Are we willing to be humble in admitting the limitations of our own knowledge, gentle in our disagreements, patient with those who stand different ground, committed to love above all, and actually make effort to preserve the bond of peace without which healthy relationships are not possible? Paul urged then, and through the Spirit he urges us now, to find a better way.
Grace and peace,