You/me. Us/them. We/they. After I got done reading the newspapers this morning I found myself reflecting that many things in our society seem to be based on a contest. 

In our nation, the political agendas are “us against them.” In sporting events, it is “us against them” or “you against me.” In business ventures, it is “us against them.”

Some will say, “That’s the American way! That’s what capitalism is all about! See who can get the most customers. See who can outdo the others. See who can be the champion of the world!” 

Religions of the world are caught up in the same kinds of contests. Christianity vs. Islam vs. Hinduism vs. Judaism, et cetera. 

Within Christianity it is the same as well. Baptist vs. United Methodist vs. Presbyterian vs. Lutheran vs. Roman Catholic.  

There are way too many facets of life that divide us.

When I first read the following phrase I was confused because I read it incorrectly. See if you can get it the first time through: “United we stand, untied we fall.” 

Did you catch the difference between the two phrases? Check it. Make sure you did. 

When we are untied from one another, we fall apart. There is no unity. There is no support. There is no encouragement. As a matter of fact, some will take matters to the point of looking for a spot of weakness, then attempt to exploit it. It then becomes “winner takes all.” 

When we are united together, we will stand tall and firm. We can be healthy emotionally and spiritually. There is no need to be in competition with other people to determine who is better than another, because each person’s worth is known and understood.

1 Peter 3:8-9 states, “All of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called – that you might inherit a blessing.” 

Can you live like that? Can you have sympathy for others? Can you allow yourself to accept the fact that another may have a differing position from yours without condemning that person? Can you have a tender heart? Can you allow yourself to be humble? Can you refrain from seeking revenge? 

Now, more than ever, we need to find common ground and become united in it.

The Rev. Mark Broadhead is pastor at Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview.