The disciples are traveling through Galilee with Jesus. They see Him deliver a boy of a demon which they can’t drive out themselves. They hear Him speak of His own future betrayal and death.
As they walk, an argument arises about which of them is the greatest.
Now they gather in a house at Capernaum.
Jesus: “Hey, guys, what were you arguing about on the way here?”
Disciples: (Awkward silence.)
Jesus, sighing: “Whoever wants to be first must be least of all and the servant of all.”
(See Mark 9:14-37)
Jesus’ disciples often had trouble keeping their priorities straight and getting along with each other. The same is still true of Christians who minister together.
Those of us in pro-life ministry face the especially challenging task of bringing many denominations together and walking in agreement under the banner of life.
Then there are the inevitable personality differences among board members, staff members and volunteers at our centers.
We may see differing levels of spiritual maturity and emotional health among those with whom we labor in this great work.
We may suffer from our own blind spots as well.
Yet Christ calls us to unity in our shoulder-to-shoulder service.
Paul urges us, “…walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Eph. 4:1-3).”
He admonishes believers to “…put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity (Col. 3:13-14).”
Jesus prayed that his followers would be one as he and the Father are one (John 17:11).
He said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:35).”
Love and unity are a big deal. They are the hallmark of our faith, a sign to unbelievers that something about us is different—in a good way.
Tweet This: Christ calls us to unity in our shoulder-to-shoulder service of pregnancy help.
In today’s culture, what often seems of ultimate importance is who is right and who is wrong. In a sense, this is the same argument as who is the greatest.
The only difference is today’s arguments are about who is the rightest.
But as Bible teacher Beth Moore has pointed out, rightness is not the same thing as righteousness.
Rightness is rooted in pride. It majors in the minors. It puffs a person up with inflated self-importance.
Righteousness, on the other hand, is godly living, which includes humility.
Righteousness does not mean compromising one’s convictions, but it does mean setting aside secondary and tertiary issues.
Righteousness requires keeping the main thing the main thing—in this case, the cause of life and God’s love for humanity—with a good attitude.
So, what happens when people push their agenda instead of being willing to work in unity? What should we do when they refuse to get along with others or comply with matters everyone else agrees on?
Paul writes to the Romans, “Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who create divisions and obstacles contrary to the teaching that you learned. Avoid them (Rom. 16:17).”
He tells Titus, “…avoid foolish debates… quarrels, and disputes about the law, because they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning (Titus 3:9-11).”
When someone endangers the unity we must pursue as Christians, it’s three strikes and they’re out.
Notice we’re not to give endless chances to unrepentant people. If they continue to choose arrogance and divisive behavior, we are to part ways with them.
If we never draw that line, we will end up catering to people who only serve as a distraction and hindrance to our mission and a drain on our emotions.
When we draw healthy boundaries and say no to those who undermine unity, the outcome is beautiful.
I put it this way in Unleashing Your Courageous Compassion,
“Something powerful happens when Christians lay aside their differences, combine their strengths, and walk humbly with God together. Something that diffuses the fragrance of heaven.”
This is especially true in this cultural moment. Our society has never been more polarized than we are today.
People don’t even pride themselves on being non-judgmental anymore. Nowadays, judging others has become the expected norm.
But that’s gross. Rightness and shaming and meanness are stinky.
Unity, on the other hand, smells like Jesus.
“For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing (1 Cor. 2:15).”
In our work for life, let’s work toward the precious unity Jesus wants us to display.
Let’s ask ourselves honestly, “How might I be enabling divisiveness (or even contributing to it)?”
Let’s keep rescuing the preborn—and let’s do so in beautiful unity.