Ronnie McBrayer: We are stronger when united
If you haven’t noticed, this world is a fairly divided place — a statement that should win me a Captain Obvious award. North vs. South. Republican vs. Democrat. Black vs. white; American vs. Latino. Christian vs. Muslim. Gun-toters vs. peaceniks. Straights vs. gays. Donald Trump vs. the world. Is there anything that can bring healing to our society, ripped apart by so many bitter rivalries?
As a Christian, maybe I should answer that question by returning to one of the mantras of the late, great gospel music composer/singer Andre Crouch: “Jesus is the Answer.” And I don’t mean that in a trite, bumper sticker sort of way that only leads to more division. I mean it in the cosmic, sweeping, unifying sense.
The Apostle Paul, and one could say that this was the major tenet of his teaching, made clear that Jesus came not to create a new religion (again, another tool of division), but to create a new humanity. The power that he brought to the world, a power infused by sacrificial love, was the means of obliterating rivalry and competition, deflating egos, and rubbing out the lines that divide humanity. As Paul said, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Consider this practical example: Fans at a football game. Have you ever noticed how diverse said crowd is? There are rednecks and rappers. Hillbillies and hipsters. College alumni and first-year dropouts. Those on the right and those on the left. Men and women. Blacks and whites. Legals and illegals. There they all are: Sitting together, cheering together, laughing, eating and drinking together. This type of unity would be impossible without there being something bigger, something better, something, dare I say, transcendent to put them on the same team.
By saying, “Jesus is the Answer,” I am talking about this kind of solidarity. While we are often divided by race, religion, sexuality, gender, nationalism, and a thousand other little tribal allegiances, in Christ we can find that something bigger, better, and spiritual that can unite us. Simply put, when Jesus becomes more important to us, and I say this primarily to people of faith, than all the other lesser things, then we can experience greater unity.
The pending question then, is this: Will we surrender our wills and identities to Christ (But isn’t that always the question?)? Will we let go of our sectarian loyalties; our ethnic hatreds; our personal heritages; our identities that keep us bound by race, color, politics, or creed? Will we see that first and foremost, we aren’t men or women, Americans or Latinos, blacks or whites — but we are brothers and sisters in the same family?
What wonderful things could truly take place if those who call themselves Christians could unite in Christ, rather than wrongly use Christ to strengthen the divisions already so deeply entrenched in the world! I’d like to think that we just might have a real chance for healing, and a new opportunity to live together.
Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, blogger, pastor and author of multiple books. Visit his website at ronniemcbrayer.net.