“If anyone will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that place, as a testimony against them.” -Jesus in Mark 6:11
It is interesting that Jesus didn’t advocate for unity above everything. In fact, He said that He didn’t come to bring peace but a sword. Meaning that by definition our allegiance to Christ, His words, actions, and principles are likely to separate us from others. And at times our commitment to Him even means that we may be separated from those who disagree with how we should engage the world on His behalf.
In the current climate, there is a great call for unity. And certainly unity is a worthy goal. But should we unify in spite of the major divisions that separate us? Should the problems that have created a great gulf between us and have existed for centuries, simple be glossed over in the name of unity? Are there worse things than division and polarization?
I do understand that in order for the current divisions to be bridged drastic, cataclysmic, systemic changes are going to have to take place. I advocate for these changes. But I understand that first these changes must take place within me.
Sometimes people comment to me “You’ve changed!” Sometimes they mean I’ve changed in a pejorative sense. But please remember that change is a necessary part of life. It would not be considered a virtue for me to say, “I still believe everything that I believed about math or science when I was kid.” So why do we consider it virtuous if our knowledge of Christ and His Word have not changed since we were a kid? True faith in Christ demands that I learn more of Him, and that by definition means that some of my views will change. And by God’s grace they will change some more as I grow older in the wisdom and knowledge of God.
Unconditional love means not only loving as we are, but loving who we may become. A love we should extend to others and ourselves. And at times extracting ourselves from relationships and situations that are no longer sustaining that kind of love.