Unity in Diversity
Paul talks about this in I Corinthians 12:1 – 13:13. As Christ chose twelve disciples, from different backgrounds and with different abilities, Christ is determined for us to understand that it is our diversity that brings about unity. Also, as we shall see, there are two things, that bring about this unity in diversity.
In Corinthians, Paul points out that we all have different abilities and that these abilities are given to us the Holy Spirit. Some speak words of wisdom, others have words of knowledge, others accel in faith. To some God has given the ability to healing, not only healing physically but emotionally as well. Others can work miracles. Others can prophecy (preach) the gospel message.
Perhaps one of more important of the gifts is the ability to discern, or the discerning of the spirits. Paul then finishes by stating there are those that have the ability to learn and speak different languages, as was displayed by Peter in Acts chapter 2 on the day of Pentecost.
But all these should be done with the same spirit, the spirit of love for without love, true genuine love, love that is born of and part of the fruit of the Spirit, is no better than a band in which each is trying to play whatever part they feel without regard to the notes that are on the sheet of music.
It is also no better than a one part of the human body thinking it can and so as it pleases without regard for the other parts of the body. Should the hand decide to make a fist and hit something when a gentle touch, the touch of sympathy is needed, would not the rest of the body suffer because the other person upon being, struck, would strike back. If one foot went one direction while the other attempted to move in a different direction would the body not suffer because it no longer could support itself on both feet and consequently fall to the ground. Sure all these are possible. It is when the body works together than great good can be done.
It is the same in the Christian church. If we fail work together, each going and doing our own thing, then the entire church suffers and ultimately the gospel message will fail to be given with the proper authority.
Speaking of Sympathy. Peter gives us some fantastic advice when in I Peter 3:8 he states that we should act with sympathy. Simply put, sympathy means that when one person suffers we all suffer with them. When another rejoices, we rejoice with them (compare I Corinthians 12:26). Sympathy enables us to see from another’s perspective, which is an important step along the way to unity of spirit.
Peter then follows this up by saying we should all have love one for another (I Peter 3:8). Peter was just echoing the words spoken by Jesus in John 13:35 in that you can tell Christ’s true disciples because of their love for one another.
The true Christian not only sympathizes with others, rejoices with others, loves each other but also has a tender heart. They will have compassion for each other’s difficulties and failings. Finally, a true Christian will have a humble mind (I Peter 3:8).
Keeping these things in mind, the Christian will keep his tongue in check. He will keep his tongue from speaking evil and deceit, instead using his words to uplift others. Let the Christian always turn away evil substituting good for evil.
Peter finishes this section by stating in verse twelve of chapter three in his first letter to the church that “the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.