This is a question that’s been on my mind for the past couple of days. How do we, as Christians, become unified?
The answer is obviously through Jesus, but if the answer is that simple, why does Christianity remain so fractured?
It would seem that, in my opinion, we don’t understand the basics of Jesus. I know it is hard to understand a lot of Jesus’ words and actions at first glance. Even when we think we’ve got something figured out, Jesus can humble us again with a whole new perspective. However, I do think the basics are easy enough for a five year old to understand. That is—Jesus represents love. He is the manifestation to show us who Father is (John 14:7). I believe this is the starting point—the foundation of our entire Christian faith. When we begin to deviate from this foundation, we get thousands of different factions with thousands of different interpretations. For me, any interpretation I read or hear first has to pass through the filter of God’s love.
If an idea fails the test of God’s love, then it is something that I can’t personally consign myself to. It isn’t that I’m being stubborn and insistent on my way. It’s simply that religion without love is dead, and I believe that Jesus shows us, in the Bible, how to live a life of love (John 10:10, Matt 5:44). Admittedly, I’m struggling more with these concepts now than when I was following a set of rules to look Christian.
We also see, in the Bible, what tends to happen when man lives out a religion of obligation instead of love. The religious leaders during Jesus’ ministry were devout in their beliefs. They held the scriptures in highest regard and prompted their society to draw closer to God in the same way. Yet, Jesus comes along and tells them they’re not getting it. He redefined everything they thought they knew about scripture (Matt 5 and 23).
Are we still upholding scripture in that same way today? Are we rejecting the love of the living Cornerstone and instead building on dead words that only seek to further our power and comfort in the world? Is the world becoming darker because people aren’t upholding religious mandates or because we Christians aren’t being love like Jesus calls us to be?
We can keep chasing our doctrinal tails around in circles, but until we start actually believing that God is Love, we will never be unified as Christians. In turn, we will just be brushed off by the rest of the world. If we misrepresent Jesus and alienate each other, how can we expect those in the world to follow him? Why do we have to try to sell our religion, especially when it’s not working for us? Wouldn’t our victorious Christian lives naturally draw others if it was really the outworking of Jesus’ love?