Unity - It's Found In Weakness

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, September 26, 2013 0 comments

I remember the first time I truly learned what unity is, or I should say what it is not. I played football for my local high school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and, to say the least, we weren’t very good. My school was essentially the “little brother” of the powerhouse school with which we shared a district. But regardless of our record, we had one motivational moment at the end of every practice. The whole team would come together, much like you see in football movies, and then raise our fists together, count to three, and shout, “Unity!” It made us feel like a team, like we were united in our goals. The problem was that unity wasn’t something we could just speak into existence. We had to live it, which proved to be nearly impossible. The more we lost, the more certain players found things to complain about regarding other players and even coaches. We still did our usual shout at the end of each practice out of ritual, but I often looked around the group and realized “unity” was just a word, not the character of our team.

As I’ve pondered the situation with my high school football team over the years since, I’ve come to realize that the problem was that we tried to have unity from some position of strength rather than our weakness. The fact that we were a bad football team could have brought us closer together and forced us to lean on one another more to help cover each other’s individual weaknesses. Instead, blame spread through the team like a cancer. The same is true with our country. We call ourselves the “United States”, and a popular slogan we have is, “United we stand, divided we fall”. However, think about the times when our country has shown the most unity. We banded together after the tragedy of 9/11/01. Natural disasters that we see and hear about every day have caused people to put aside their differences and help each other. But when things have returned to a state of normalcy and we have once again operated from our positions of strength, we have quickly gone back to fighting over political and economical differences.

The same thing happens in the church. Why do you think the Apostle Paul tells the Christians in Rome to “not think of yourselves more highly than you ought” (Romans 12:3)? He knew that the believers were still human beings who would compare themselves to each other and would be in danger of forgetting their common weakness. Friends, whether you call yourself a follower of Christ or not, I can say with 100% certainty that everyone who reads this post has one area of unity that I also share. As Paul says in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. That means that no matter what you believe, no matter how strong or successful you are, and no matter how well you compare yourself to others, you have a weakness, and that weakness is called “sin”. This weakness unites everyone from the least to the greatest.

One of my favorite passages that I have used in past writings is Luke 17:11-19. You can read it for yourself to see how Jesus healed lepers and how the lepers responded to the gift they had received. For now, I just want to draw your attention to verses 11 and 12. “Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” What’s interesting about this is that Jews (Galilee) and Samaritans simply did not associate with one another. But because these men had the dreaded and contagious disease of leprosy, they were cast away from their own peoples and forced to stay near the borders of their regions. Guess what that meant? The horrible disease was the ONLY thing that could unify these men that despised each other because of their differences!

Just to be clear, I’m not saying that we must continue to dwell on our sins even after we have received new life in Christ as if we are not free. Paul even tells us that we may “boast in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14). But that’s just it. Our boasting is not in our strength, but HIS. We have no reason to have disunity with other believers because it was our sin that initially unified us and now it’s the cross which unifies us as new creations in HIS church. You may get irritated by how one person’s specific weakness affects you, but never forget that he may be strong where you are weak. As fellow members of Christ’s church, you can both rejoice even in your weaknesses because you have unity by HIS strength. The cross has set you free from having to compare yourself to others, so why keep doing it? Accept and rejoice in your weakness, because like the song says, when we are weak, HE IS STRONG!