can you feel the tension?

It’s a prudent practice to heed the wisdom in others — recognizing none of us are anywhere close to cornering the market on wisdom. I thus spent some time listening to a wise friend this week. I couldn’t scribble fast enough. Here are my notes… his comments, with a few of my a-ha’s etched in…

The country is divided. Can you feel the tension?

But know what’s true?

We all believe what we believe because we believe it’s best.

But what happens when what I believe is best is different than what you believe is best?

We believe what we believe with passion. We believe it’s best. We also believe unity is best. So what is the path to unity?

Is unity that you agree with me all the time?

Is unity that we all see eye-to-eye on every single thing?

Let’s be clear: unity is not uniformity.

“Unity is oneness of purpose — not sameness of persons.” (as said by Dr. Tony Evans)

There are people who don’t think like us, act like us, look like us, talk like us. So let’s remember that the name of the game is not trying to get you to believe what I believe; the name of the game is not trying to get you to think, act, look, or talk like me either.

True unity can only be found when we minimize our personal preferences. But many of us rubber stamp our preferences and put them above all else… above other people, above divine inspiration and instruction.

What if true unity can only be experienced to the degree that we have accepted undeserved grace?

It’s all about grace. It’s all about grace. It’s all about grace. (Did I mention it’s all about grace?)

But the reality is that undeserved and unlimited grace only comes from God. From everyone else it is limited in some capacity — some way, somehow. From everyone else it only goes so far. Unlimited grace… unearned grace… undeserved. It only comes from One who is bigger and wiser than we. And there’s only one of him.

If you’re a woman, pay attention. If you’re a minority, pay attention. If you’re a woman or a minority, it was Jesus who spoke of your value before any of the movements today.

So want to be part of the solution to the division in this country? Want to be on the path to unity, which most people agree is best? Remember it’s not beating down others so they agree with you; it’s not squelching the voice of varied opinion; it’s not even getting back at them in the next election.

Unity comes only from the awareness of how hugely much God loves each of us. When we recognize how much God loves us and all he’s done for us — and all he’s done for the person next to me, regardless of social status, income, or ethnicity — we learn to treat that person next to us better. We learn to treat him or her with love. All the time.

Hence, learn how to respond with love.

… to those people you can’t stand… to those colleagues at work you just wish would be transferred… away, far away… Respond in love.

Our national divide will never get better if we keep contributing to the fire. We’re adding fuel to the fire with our sideways comments… our angry posts, our cutting comments on social media… the rolling of our eyes when people are sharing their stories…

That’s contributing to the division. That’s participating in the work of someone or something other than God.

Someone mentioned that we are fighting the wrong enemy. So true.

So let’s be part of the solution. Let’s be the leader of humility, kindness, and grace… knowing that available, unlimited grace. It’s something that black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Democrats and Republicans, we all have in common.

Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.

[FYI: Time with my friend was well spent.]