United We Stand, Divided We Fall – The Splinted Effect

Fractured World and Divided Communities

United - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

Have you ever considered the progress made when people are united together rather than divided? The adage, “Many hands make light work,” is certainly true whether it is in our own homes, the workplace, community or even the world. One look at the news this week and not only does the world appear divided but the United States appears fractured and united doesn’t seem to be in the framework. The union still stands but without unity, more like 2 cats tied together by their tails and thrown over the clothesline. It is disheartening to see our communities, nations, and world set apart by our differences which is why it is so important that followers of Christ, unite. For united we do stand and divided we not only fall, but we are splintered and unable to fulfill our mission, which is to show the world, Christ.

The power of unity comes in different forms, but to be effective it is important to examine just how we are united. Dwight Moody said, “There are two ways of being united – one is by being frozen together, and the other is by being melted together. What Christians need is to be united in brotherly love, and then they may expect to have power.” Things that are merely frozen together can quickly fracture apart but when the union comes from being melted together the bond cannot be separated.

United Must Be a “We”

The idea behind, “United we stand, divided we fall,” traces back to the Bible. Jesus said in Matthew 12:25 that “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart.” There are many ways to be divided, but Christ calls us to be one, putting aside our personal agendas to simply follow Him. As believers, we share a unity deeper than even blood relations. When there are divisions between Christians the work of God is undermined, and the effectiveness of the message is lost. It is very important to know that when we claim unity to Christ, we are not an individual, I, but we are a collective, “We.”

As we approach the world to proclaim our devotion in and with Christ, it is important to do so remembering our purpose to Him and not to the allegiance of our circle of influences or patterns of thought. We must know exactly what we believe and why. One of the founding fathers of the United States, John Dickinson, penned this concept of unity in his pre-revolutionary song, The Liberty Song.

By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall.

In so righteous a cause let us hope to succeed,

For Heaven approves of each generous deed.

One Mind, United in Thought, and Purpose

Many great leaders over the years, such as Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of Great Britain and Donald Tusk, President of the European Council have touted the importance of being united and the results of a division. Whatever our political or social alliances make no difference however at the base of the cross. For when we stand there looking up, each one of us is equal having neither more nor less than the other. It is in this place that we realize that it is only through Christ that we can experience and hold true unity. And it is in this, that Paul pleads with us to be one together.

I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.

1 Corinthians 1:10 (NLT)

If we as Christians want to be united to proclaim the gospel to the world, it is important that we cling together to Christ in humility. Working together causes us to realize that we are all striving for the same purpose and goal. Therefore, it is important to see that we cannot choose sides or build barriers. There are no “us” and “them” only “we,” together, with the same mind and more importantly with the same purpose.

Reflecting Mirrors

Too often the problem in church arises when the church begins to reflect the larger society around it rather than living as an example of what community is supposed to be. We mistakenly shift to the drawing of lines in the sand and choosing teams that the culture around us revels in. When this occurs, we cannot shine the light of Christ, for we are only serving as a mirror and reflecting the world.

Samuel G. Candler reminds us that being a Christian is about taking a particular angle towards life, the angle of grace. He says that each of us perceives reality and the world in a different way, but Jesus teaches us to see the world from the angle of grace. If Christians unite then Christianity as a collective group would be richer as we could accept angles more easily. It is in this place that Christianity would be beautiful for we would bend toward the angle of grace. Our purpose is not an emphasis on selective theology or interpretation, but the simple mission that loves God and loves our neighbor. It is in this that we clearly see our purpose and it is of this that we must be of one mind.

Beacons of Light

Lighthouses sit on coastlines, islands, and busy harbors. The light that shines from them is to help guide those in the dark to safety. When Christians unite together with the sole purpose to love God and love our neighbor, we become the lighthouse instead of just a mirror blending in. When we allow our Christ lights to shine brightly, we stand out and apart for as the light unites we dispel the darkness for the world.

Won’t you be challenged today to remember there is no “I” in a team or a “me” in “we?” Remember that “we” all belong to Christ and this must be our united motto. Find your convictions rooted in the main purpose that God designed you to be loving of Him and “them.” Clearly see your motivation in moving closer to be of one mind and one purpose with those who are not like you. Seek out those who you can share the proclaimed mission with as you love your neighbor as yourself. Surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that the wonderfully diverse body of Christ transcends nationalities, ethnicities, and even time. It is with Him that you can join the body of Christ extending your care and love to others and those that are not yet part of your family, being a member of the “we” team.

Love in Christ,

E.J.

Postscript

One of the main tasks of theology is to find words that do not divide but unite, that do not create conflict but unity, which do not hurt but heal.

Henri Nouwen

Extra Study

John 17:21; Romans 15:5

What are your thoughts?

Do you see a united world or a divided one? Have you worked to set your mind to join with the body of Christ? Are you part of the “we,” loving God and showing others His love through you? Share your thoughts on the need for the body of Christ to unite.

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