In today’s Bible verse, Paul gives a very very important command for the church at Corinth:
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. (I Corinthians 1:10).
This is very difficult advice for any church to follow, especially one such as the church at Corinth, which was well known for it’s internal divisions. Most Christians claim to agree with the sentiment of this verse above, but there are many who do not act like they do. It is easy for us to say that we value unity in the church, but actually achieving this unity takes a lot of time, effort, understanding, and love, and many of us simply are not willing to put in the energy to accomplish this unity that we claim to believe in. When we say that Christians should be in agreement, what we usually mean is that other Christians should agree with us. We imagine this process of achieving church unity will go very smoothly, as long as everyone else behaves, and if they don’t see eye to eye with us right away, we feel justified in making a big scene and spreading gossip about them.
But real unity is hard work. It takes maturity and discipline. Here are some other Bible verses that tell us what is required in order to achieve unity:
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:31-32).
He who conceals a transgression seeks love,
But he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends. (Proverbs 17:19)
The first to plead his case seems right,
Until another comes and examines him. (Proverbs 18:17)
He who gives an answer before he hears,
It is folly and shame to him. (Proverbs 18:13)
When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains his lips is wise. (Proverbs 10:19)
But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips (Colossians 3:8).
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2-3).
Better a patient person than a warrior,
one with self-control than one who takes a city (Proverbs 16:32).
A worthless man digs up evil,
While his words are like scorching fire.
A perverse man spreads strife,
And a slanderer separates intimate friends. (Proverbs 16:27-28)
The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels,
And they go down into the innermost parts of the body. (Proverbs 18:8)
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil (Psalms 37:8).
A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
By forbearance a ruler may be persuaded,
And a soft tongue breaks the bone. (Proverbs 25:15)
Before destruction the heart of man is haughty,
But humility goes before honor. (Proverbs 18:12)
A fool does not delight in understanding,
But only in revealing his own mind. (Proverbs 18:2)
Argue your case with your neighbor,
And do not reveal the secret of another,
Or he who hears it will reproach you,
And the evil report about you will not pass away. (Proverbs 25:9-10)