Don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong (Romans 14:1).

A group of churches in our city came together to do a neighbourhood cleanup. The shared project went so well that they now exchange choirs and praise bands and have multichurch picnics. Oh sure, there are things they disagree on. But to them, Jesus is a reason for unity.

What a contrast to the small town where I went to high school! There were only two churches, both with similar denominational traditions. They worshiped the same Jesus, and both believed in His death and resurrection. Anyone looking at us would have had a hard time telling us apart, except that they had a cool building with stone architecture and we didn’t.

But the people in that church weren’t us. And so in our school, the handful of kids from my youth group never hung out with the handful of kids from their youth group. No one would ever have guessed that we had a special bond in Jesus because we didn’t show it.

Paul wrote about freedom to believe differently on peripheral matters (Romans 14:1). He noted that some Christians chose to avoid certain foods while others ate anything they wanted (Romans 14:2-3). Some observed certain days as holy; others didn’t. But both determined to honour Christ (Romans 14:5).

Interestingly, Paul didn’t choose sides as he wrote, “Those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them” (Romans 14:3). He added, “Why do you look down on another believer?” (Romans 14:10).

God knows that not only do we need Him, we also need one another. As we meet with other believers in a local church, we may not agree on everything, but our staying together can help us grow in Christ. We are His body, designed to glorify Him as we learn to love and care for one another.

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A different unity