Finding unity amid division
How is dividedness healed and unity built?
That is a question on my mind this week. My sense is that the process cannot be rushed. Steps cannot be skipped.
Unfortunately, because division is painful, we want to rush. And because the healing process is also painful, we want to skip steps.
But we mustn’t.
True unity is not surface agreement. A pretty Band-Aid does not heal a festering wound. It only covers it up. And when we say, “Let’s just move on and be more agreeable”, our way of relating may be better for a while,but the fractured relationship has not truly been mended.
What is unity? Unity can seem like a bad word when it feels forced, or like uniformity. A helpful picture for me was thinking about a healthy marriage — free of control, full of acceptance, respectful of differences, and focused on knowing and being known.
Perhaps if we take stock of the practises needed for a healthy marriage, we will also discover the steps to healing division and building unity.
Healthy couples take time to hear each other. They welcome feedback, they listen to each other’s opinions and share openly how they are feeling.
Healthy couples deal with hurt and problems rather than glossing over them. They refuse to withdraw in silent treatment. Rather than accusing or getting defensive, they own their actions and try to see the heart of the other.
Healthy couples forgive each other and do not let resentment grow. They choose to believe the best about each other.
Healthy couples do not take each other for granted. They carve out time to enjoy one another. They seek out ways to encourage and uplift the other. They show affection. They express gratitude and love.
Healthy couples recognize they cannot sustain their marriage alone. They need help, strength and wisdom from outside themselves.
In your relationships over the past few years, do you see where division crept in? Where uneasiness, tension or even complete separation resulted?
If you’re not sure, is there hurt just below the surface? Misunderstanding? Anger? Feelings of betrayal? Can you see others without judging or criticizing them? Do you see your world in terms of “us and them”? Does everything feel fine until that trigger word is spoken? These are signs that relationships need mending.
My prayer is that our capacity and determination to listen, understand, and forgive one another will increase.
Springfield North community correspondent
Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield North.