Inevitable Evitable Unity

Consider the classy Caucasian woman. Dressed in her expensive suit and glittering in diamonds and pearls, she is careful not to dirty her hands while standing in line at the sandwich shop. A Hispanic man walks in and stands behind her. This man is dirty and sweaty from working at a construction site all day. He just moved to the United States and knows little English. These two human beings might never communicate or cross paths for their entire lives, having very different social groups, topics of conversation and families. But here they are, within inches of each other, ordering sandwiches. They glance at one another, both passing judgments.

She is watching her figure, so she decides to eat only half of a sandwich today, which the employee creates by cutting the bread in half. The man cannot afford more, so he too orders half of a sandwich for his lunch. The obvious move ensues; the employee at the shop takes the other half of the woman’s bread to make the man’s sandwich. What an ironic situation where two very different people are sharing and breaking bread together from the same loaf; whether they are aware of it or not.
And so the connections continue, more than we will ever know. Each person, regardless of their socioeconomic status, race or gender is connected with one another in a way that goes deeper than any label, right down to the core of being a part of the human race.

The truth is that we live in the midst of an ecosystem; a biological community where living things interact with other living things as well as their environment. A creek winds through a wooded forest; animals, trees and plants are also in this forest. They are all connected, dependent on each other for their very lives. The trees grow, taking from the water below and the sunshine above. They provide food and shelter for animals. Animals drink from the creek and find food sources on the trees and in the ground, leaving nutrients that help the trees to grow stronger. Each is connected with one another beyond what we comprehend. And so are we, on a biological, relational, emotional and spiritual level.

Jesus understood how we are all connected. He created us, after all. He taught that the greatest commandments are to love the Lord our God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. He later clarified, knowing we would need clarification, that “our neighbors” refers to everyone (Matthew 19:19). And He holds Himself to the same standard, “for God so loved the whole world” (John 3:16). It’s funny how we can get other commandments right but those two so wrong. Sometimes, instead of loving the sinner and hating the sin, we just hate all of it. Romans 12:14-18 says, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (NIV).

Understanding connection leads to love being lived out. Suddenly, that injustice against that little girl on the other side of the world is against our own daughters. That couple down the street that lost their son – that’s our loss, too.

We are all connected so much more than we realize. And, if we are Christians, we are that much more connected, eternally, by the blood of Jesus. Colossians 3:12-15 tells us that as God’s beloved and chosen people, we are to clothe ourselves in compassion, humility, kindness, patience and forgiveness. “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace…” (NIV).

We all have desires, hopes, dreams, joys, sorrows, losses, good days and bad days. Together, all of us define humanity. When we sin, we affect others. When we do good, we affect others. None of us live in isolation. So, let us live life together. May we open our eyes and see that the same Christ that lives in us lives in our Christian neighbors. Let us pray for unity as Jesus prayed for unity all those years ago. We’re all connected, so let us live that way.

Carmen can be reached at [email protected] or visit www.hiccupz.com.

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