Like love, unity is the most abused term, attached to different morals among different peoples. Criminals can also be united in carrying out their nefarious activities. While beneficial to themselves, such nefarious activities, sustained in unity with each other, would be harmful to the rest of humanity. Therefore, one cannot talk about unity, when focusing on self-benefit. This is common sense, rather than requiring deep study, to understand.
It is improper to call oneself Christian when maintaining exclusivity. Unity implies oneness, as opposed to individual groupings that are anathematized against each other. There are plausible reasons for denouncing outsiders. But unity has got nothing to do with denunciation. Unless understood in embracive spirit, the term unity is misunderstood.
In its correct definition, unity is a principle that represents what has always been, as represented in oneness. Ultimately, the principle of unity leads to the reality that; only in God is the true essence of unity found. Through Moses, God emphatically taught this principle of oneness to the Israelites:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is oneLove the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength”(Deuteronomy 6:4-5) (NIV).
When carefully analyzed this Scripture portrays the significance of unity in its full conceptual definition. Any other definition of unity inferred for other fragmented principles is fake. Here lies the misunderstanding that has confused our beloved Trinitarian theologians.
God cannot be three in one. He is codified in one principle that cannot be divided under any form of imagination. Imagining God to be three in one, causes being confounded in idolatry. This can only be avoided when appreciating the significance of the second Commandment (Exodus 20:4).
Avoiding separation does not necessarily mean exclusivity against wrong-doers. The transformation of the mind to embrace that which is good is paramount. Jesus, as the symbol of unity, embraced everyone, regardless of background. He mingled with those considered to be sinners, seeking to impart life to everyone. Jesus demonstrated the significance of unity.
The common misunderstanding, among Christians, is derived from misinterpreting Scriptures; thereby influencing ordinary people to behave similarly. This is why we have despotic dictators delighting in treating the opposition as enemies—taking a leaf from Christians who misinterpret Scriptures:
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ Therefore, ‘Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.’ And, ‘I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty”(2 Corinthians 6:14-18) (NIV).
This separation is distinctive of insolent condemnation of detractors. It simply implies avoiding that which is wrong, to be in conformity with what is right. For instance, it is wrong to suggest that because Jesus often castigated the Jews, He was an enemy of the Jews.
Those Jews appreciated unity in terms of ethnicity. Jesus projected the idea of embracive unity when giving the parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus subscribed to goodness, at the expense of evil. The idea of wearing masks seems as enforcing unity among all peoples, due to the deadly Coronavirus.
Otherwise, the symptom of disunity can be observed everywhere, among all social groupings. Marital divorces, multicultural divisions, including schisms among denominational groupings and political parties, portray symptoms of disunity. Hence Jesus was killed for projecting unity, which can never be an easy undertaking.
Unity has its foundation from the source. Jesus taught His disciples the principle of unity so that they were not to be ethnically identified. When exclusively identified, humans negate the principle of unity. Jesus had to teach in parables, to avoid being misconstrued as subscribing to disunity (Mark 4:10). At the same time, He projected the truth in being the Christ that the Jews had all along expected.
Only the humble, appreciating the principle of unity, can understand the teachings of Jesus. Those thronging Jesus wherever He went, could not understand, the principle of unity. When delivering His famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was expounding on the idea of unity, impossible without attachment to the source.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash”(Matthew 7:24-27) (NIV).
When based on a rock-solid foundation it is impossible for a house to fall. In other words, the individual groupings, regardless of how ornamental, cannot stand unless structured against a rock-solid foundation. Interestingly, if approached individually, it is impossible for those Christians to answer similarly to how Peter answered Jesus:
“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah(Matthew 16:13-20) (NIV).
Christianity is based on this particular passage of Scripture. Nevertheless, the divergent opinions among Christian groupings, portray the existent disunity. The ordinary people were disunited on the identity of Jesus. But they were united on the factor of disjointed unitary groupings. The majority may have suggested that Jesus was John the Baptist or any of those submissions. Yet that had nothing to do with the true identity of Jesus.
Having received an accurate answer from Peter, Jesus suggested building His Church, based on that understanding. Truth comes from the source, who is God, Himself. The simplicity of this truth comes from Genesis 1:26-27. Certainly, there is no excuse for failure to identify Jesus?
But, did those Jews accurately identify themselves, as to know who they really were? Unless shown by God, they could not see, even what was clearly recorded in the Scriptures. They believed in tradition, rather than their dearly esteemed Scriptures. Yet, Jesus’s Church would be built on the understanding of those Scriptures. Nothing is complicated, as to need theological studies.
The Church that Jesus founded is united by the aspect that all humans are God’s children, as created in God’s image. The unifying factor is God Himself. Nothing is fantabulous in being God’s children. Except that the enemies of unity would never appreciate the idea of equating humanity. They carry the idea that others are superior, while others ought to be treated as inferior. Here is the primary reason for which Jesus died:
“‘I and the Father are one.’ Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any good work,’ they replied, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside—what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, “I am God’s Son”?’”(John 10:30-36) (NIV).
Apparently, nothing has changed, in ordinary human behavior, even in our time. It is apparently impossible for ordinary humans to treat each other as equals. No-one knows what it is that blinds people against the Scripture that specifically states that humans were created in God’s image.
The Jewish accusation of Jesus being blasphemous, appeared as defending Godliness. They were united in their abhorrent conduct. Yet this was their departure from the infallible unity. Most of those calling themselves Christians, behave similarly, yet denouncing the same God in Jesus.
The Pharisaic leaders had a large following from the devout Jewish community. Those Jews were united in the wrongness of killing their Messiah. Although bearing the Holy Scriptures, the Jews treated their Messiah as a renegade.
Among Christians, many can easily understand these things, but without the courage to stand up for the truth—due to fear of being labeled renegades. They think of unity according to subscribing to erroneous beliefs, as portrayed by Theologians.
It seems the first Commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me” will continue to be violated until the second coming of Jesus. The reason being cowardice among those proclaiming to be Christians. The exclusive idea in assuming to be the only chosen of God negates the principle of unity expounded by Christ:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”(Matthew 5:43-48) (NIV).
Here is my challenge to all Christians around the world: Why is this Scripture blatantly violated, among your denominational groupings, and yet calling yourselves “Christians?” I like the last part: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Certainly, one cannot be Christian and yet preferring to be unlike Jesus?
One could represent a group, appearing as closer to God than others. But the above Scripture would certainly denounce that person. Is it any wonder why Jesus said, “not all who say, ‘Lord,’ ‘Lord’ would enter the Kingdom of Heaven??”(Matthew 7:21)
I sincerely hope that many Christians would take heed and accordingly consider their stand. Unity is too sacred to be used loosely, for expediency. As a symbol of unity, Jesus embraced everyone. He did not lead an insurrection, condemning, especially those seeking to kill Him:
“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’ Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns’”(Matthew 16:21-23) (NIV).
Bear in mind that this was the same Peter, having accurately identified Jesus as the Christ, previously. Peter was simply portraying the viewpoint of the ordinary people of this world. Peter intended to express solidarity with His Master. Yet Jesus castigates him as one representing Satan, instead.
This is a hard teaching, only accessible to those to whom God intends to communicate. This life should be regarded as too short for those privileged to see this while still alive. Simply espousing partisan unity, according to common dictates, can be disastrous to God’s children.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99