There’s a lot of talk currently about how divided we are in the US. While I think that’s true, I also think there is a lot that still unites us.
Consider the following things that still unite us with other people:
- Church and religious beliefs
- Places we work
- Clubs and affinity groups
- Colleges and universities we’ve attended
- Civic groups
- Volunteer organizations
- Common goals
- Common experiences
- Countries or states of origin
That’s a good, yet incomplete list! We don’t realize all the things that bring unity until we pause long enough to consider them. I’m encouraged by such list.
Unity doesn’t mean “in total agreement with”. In fact, we can have unity with someone, even when we don’t agree with them. For example, you can disagree with a relative, yet still have unity with them as a member of your family.
Disagreeing, or having differing viewpoints, with someone doesn’t mean we can’t have unity with them. We’re not required to hate someone and treat them poorly, simply because we don’t agree with them on a specific topc. Why would we sacrifice unity on the altar of disagreement? Why would we throw out a relationship simply because of differing viewpoint or opinion? That seems wasteful to me.
When you have a disagreement with a friend, family member, or someone you currently have unity with, remember that you can still be united, even amidst differing opinions or viewpoints.
Unity and disagreement are not mutually exclusive.
I currently facilitate an adult Bible study group at our church. I’ve been doing it for several years, and I just love the folks that attend! They consistently show up eager to discuss the section of scripture we’re studying and share their knowledge, while also remaining open to the fact that we don’t know everything, and that we all still have much to learn. Spending time with them every Sunday is one of the highlights of my week!
I was especially encouraged by our group this week when one of the members suggested that we have a Zoom meeting during the week to further discuss a specific concept we were studying in our weekly class. (Right now, we’re in the middle of studying the book of Romans.) The class was up for it, so this person scheduled the meeting and sent out invites. We met for almost 90 minutes on Thursday evening to dig deeper into our study. It was an enjoyable and energizing time.
I love spending time with growth minded people. There’s a verse in the Bible that states, “As iron sharpens iron, so a fried sharpens a friend.” May we all look for, and spend time with, those friends that sharpen us. So too should we do our part to sharpen them as well.
When you see a natural disaster on TV or hear about people dealing with life challenges, it’s easy to think that those kinds of things only happen to other people. Until they happen to you.
In the past 2 years I’ve had some life events happen that, in the past, I would have seen as things that happen to other people, but not to me. One was some health news and another is the current wildfires burning in Oregon that is directly impacting friends and family.
Its’ quite different when these things are happening to you versus happening to others. When it happens to others we think, “That’s too bad” and then go about our business. It’s different when it’s happening to us, because we can’t just turn it off or change the channel like we do when we’re watching a disaster on the TV. When it’s happening to us, we’re living it, and there is no off switch.
I’m reminded of the importance of empathy toward others in the struggles they face. While that doesn’t mean I have to take on, and be responsible for, everyone’s burdens, it does remind me that others don’t have an off switch in the troubles they face either. With that in mind, I should offer what I can to help others in their struggles, because I know I appreciate it when others do that for me.
I’ve really been enjoying summer this year, which seems odd due to this being the Summer of COVID. Like many people, I’ve been working from home since late March, so my morning commute has morphed from a 20-minute drive into a walk through the neighborhood with my wife. It’s been great!
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I love early sunny mornings in the summer. The bright, calm, cool skies, coupled with the quiet, slow pace that exists before the world starts to wake up and get busy, is one of my favorite parts of summer.
As September has arrived, I am keenly aware that these beautiful mornings will soon give way to the gray, cold, rainy events that describe many late fall and winter mornings in the Pacific Northwest. This certainty fills me with a sense of urgency to take advantage of these sunny mornings as much as I can before they’re gone for the season. I don’t want to waste a single remaining morning, because as soon as rainy mornings are the norm, I’ll wish I had taken advantage of any sunny mornings I might have squandered in the summer.
Therefore, my plan is to enjoy them as much as I can while I still have them. I want to look back on them this fall and winter with the satisfied feeling that comes from knowing I appreciated what I had when I had it.
Is there anything currently in your life that will soon be gone, either for a season or for good? If so, enjoy it while you have it.