Editor's Note: This is the second of two columns discussing the boundaries between people.
As I mentioned in my previous article, there is much in this society that divides us — like politics, ideologies, and theologies. Differing opinions divide people because most have not learned that it is okay to agree to disagree.
There is another aspect to human nature that seeks to take us away from God — pride, ego, and arrogance.
For example, people don't like to lose. Our world is so competitive; there is always a winner and a loser. People want to be on the winning side because everyone loves a winner. Winners receive all the glory, the accolades, the recognition, the grand prizes. Winning pumps the ego and causes one to believe they are invincible.
Competition is "us against them." If you win, you are the hero. If you lose, you are a loser. This attitude focuses all our attention on us rather than God. It causes people to pit themselves against others.
God wants us to live together peacefully. To do so, we need to realize we don't always have to agree on everything. But we do need to be willing to have an understanding spirit and a willingness to remain united even in our diversity. This is what God calls us to.
Our unity in Jesus Christ is what matters most in this life. He is the one that gives life, wholeness and purpose. He is the one who unites us — even when we may not wholly agree on everything.
I wonder how many of us would be willing to set aside the declaration that we are in the "only correct" group, or the notion we are the self-declared expert on all things political and theological, in order to agree to disagree without belittling or rejecting others?
I wonder how many would be willing to truly listen to the teachings of Jesus that call us sisters and brothers, and his call to unity?
I wonder how many would be willing to accept the fact that people are different, but still worthy of love and respect?
There is much in this society that strives to divide us, but when we recognize God in our midst, our focus is on him and his greatness — not our own. When we come together and God becomes the most important part of our time together, we accomplish great things for his glory.
The Rev. Mark Broadhead is pastor at Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview.