Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Unity of Humility and Honesty

     In his epistle to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul commands that we "endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:3).  This we accomplish by the humility of Christ, "with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love" (Ephesians 4:2).  However, true unity must also be maintained by "speaking the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15).
     The former way of peace seems obvious as we humbly "let each esteem other as better than themselves" (Philippians 2:3).  However, the speaking of truth in love often means that we must express our differences with each other.  It also means that peace may seem to be jeopardized as we stand for the convictions formed by serious reading and study of Scripture. We must be willing to disagree agreeably, as the saying goes, understanding that no true peace and unity can exist unless we are both humble and honest with each other.
     The Apostle Paul is our great example in this matter.  His epistles are filled with both loving affirmation and loving confrontation.  Paul recognized that we do our brother no favors by nodding our heads in agreement when our hearts and minds are quaking in disagreement.  So long as our attitude is lovingly humble and we are not simply arguing for the sake of argument, we may rightly tell our brother that we disagree with him.  In so doing, we strive for a true unity of the Spirit based on honest and forthright devotion to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, and our brother's benefit.  Indeed, no true peace exists in an environment of merely pretending to agree with each other when we don't.
    2,000 years of the spirit of antichrist in the world has led to a Christendom characterized by countless differences in doctrine, philosophy, structure and method.  The body of Christ often seems a broken and fractured organism prone far more to discord  than harmony.  We do well to acknowledge the fact of the matter, always seeking to find common ground, while not overlooking or ignoring our differences.  As we agree to agree and disagree, a genuine respect for each other will far more likely result.  More importantly, truth will often be found as both humility and honesty characterize our relationships based on the genuine love of Christ. 
"Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity."
(Psalm 133:1)

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