Every day our TV screens and news feeds make if painfully clear that the members of the human race are in conflict with one another. Ethical thinking for the whole of history has assumed that human beings are in conflict, and that our chief problem is how to get them unified, living harmoniously together.

The Christian message starts from an opposite position: Jesus Christ has undone all the things that separate us and cause conflict by paying for the sins of the world through His death on the cross. Through faith in Him, we may know full forgiveness from God and with all people and enjoy all the goodness and benefits of harmonious life in our relationships. 

That of course is easier said than done! We need to prayerfully depend on the grace of Jesus (our “chief cornerstone” – Ephesians 2:20) and the power of the Holy Spirit and put that into action every day. 

If we want to offer the gift of unity to the conflicted world around us (and we do! – that is the mission that God has called us to), we must first live it out among ourselves within the church family. We cannot be genuine witnesses to the love of God for the world, if we don’t genuinely love our Christian brothers and sisters (1Jn 4:20).

That means not judging/looking down on others, holding grudges, no “payback” for wrongs done, nor “kickbacks” for favours, not forming cliques, “cutting out” others, but seeing ourselves as equal with everyone, forgiving and being generous to all, befriending all – and that’s just a start.

Grace upon grace, Jonathan.