One of Margo’s latest hashtags is #VeritasUnited. I got to thinking about that. This is definitely our goal and something our enemy works non-stop to prevent. He would love to destroy the best parts of Veritas — our caring, supportive community. He sneaks around in our minds, sowing seeds of division, since he knows that the greatest testimony (an undeniable testimony, in fact) for Jesus is the unity of the believers — John 17:21-23.

Bottom Line: There is no community without unity.
Obstacles to Unity — There are plenty of reasons for a loss of unity. Let me focus on three key obstacles…
  • Festering Resentments — Someone says something to me or does something (especially if it is to my child) and never acknowledges the hurt/wrong nor takes ownership. I choose to ignore the issue, hoping it will go away. It does not. I can’t let it go. This root of bitterness will destroy my relationship with my brother or sister. Once we let this begin, it is very hard to get this resolved: A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city.” (Prov. 18:19)
  • Differences of Opinion — We have so many different opinions, convictions, preferences that it is amazing that we can come together in agreement to our Veritas Statement of Faith, Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles. However, we often forget to keep the focus on where we are like-minded and instead focus on where we disagree.
  • Gossip — Either one of the above provides fuel for gossip. We begin to tell others, “You know so-and-so thinks this or that. He is “one of those.” Or we repeat the offense to someone who was not a part of the situation and is not part of the solution. We deceive ourselves into thinking that we are seeking prayer when, in effect, we are joining in the enemy’s work of sowing discord. Sometimes, we are so effective that we “poison the well;” we make it impossible for the person to whom I have gossiped to have a relationship with the person we resent.
Stop Kidding Yourself — People kid themselves thinking, “This one relationship is not that important. We hardly ever see each other. I’ll just focus on the positive relationships around me and ignore this person.” But the Bible never instructs us to do that. We either cover the sin — forgive and forbear through the love of Jesus and His grace — or we confront the sin, seeking private restoration as the first step. We are to go and tell that person “between you and him alone.”  Matt. 18:15 If you neglect this, the hurt will spill over and defile the community.
Restoring Unity: How do we restore unity?
  • Pick a Gentle Manner for Your Discussion —  A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  Prov. 15:1
  • Start with Owning Your Own Sin or Failure — We are never completely innocent in an exchange. Sometimes our sin is in how we responded, not the original incident. But we can still own that.
  • Are You the Offender? Admit One’s Own Sin/Failure without any buts. When someone confronts you, don’t compound the problem by shifting the blame onto the other person to excuse your behavior.
  • Agree to Disagree — Really, this is often the only way to move forward. If it is not central to salvation and eternity, let your differences go. Agree not to hold this different conviction against your brother or sister.
“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Eph. 4:1-3
 
Will You Live Worthy of Your Calling? Build Real Unity: Not a unity with plastic smiles, but one with resolved and restored relationships. Unity does not happen without relationship, Christopher  
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