Finding Unity in Our Church: A Reflection on John 10:10

In the heart of every church community lies a fundamental need for unity. It's the glue that binds us together, allowing us to grow and thrive in our collective faith journey. However, like any family, a church is not immune to the trials of disunity. In reflecting on the Parable of the Good Shepherd, specifically verse John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly," we find a profound message about the dangers of disunity and the promise of a life filled with the abundant blessings Christ offers. This scripture frames our understanding of the spiritual battles we face and guides us in fostering a harmonious church environment.
To fully grasp the message of John 10:10, it's essential to dive into its deep and multifaceted meanings. Here, Jesus draws a stark contrast between the destructive intentions of 'the thief' and His own life-giving purpose. The thief, interpreted as the forces of evil and discord, aims to disrupt and dismantle the unity and peace within a person and the church. In contrast, Jesus speaks of His mission to bring life – and not just a mere existence, but a life overflowing with His blessings and grace. This abundant life is characterized by love, joy, peace, and, importantly, unity among believers.

Understanding this scripture calls us to recognize the subtle ways in which disunity can creep into our church. It might come in the form of unresolved conflicts, gossip, jealousy, or even differing opinions that aren't handled with grace. These elements act as the 'thief', stealing the joy and peace that Christ intends for His church.
Disunity in a church is akin to a thief in the night – it slowly and secretively erodes the foundations of our community. When members engage in conflicts, harbor unforgiveness, or succumb to envy, the church's collective strength diminishes. This disunity steals the joy that comes from communal worship, kills the fellowship that binds us in Christ, and destroys our collective testimony to the world. It's a tool used by the enemy to distract us from our true purpose – to love and serve one another as Christ loves us!

A church divided by petty differences and unresolved issues is like a body working against itself. In 1 Corinthians 12:12, Paul compares the church to a body with many parts, each essential and interconnected. When disunity arises, it's as if the hand refuses to help the foot or the eye refuses to see for the body. The result is a dysfunctional body of Christ, unable to carry out its God-given mission effectively.
Jesus’ promise of an abundant life is the antidote to the poison of disunity. This abundance is not about material wealth or personal gain; it's about the richness of love, grace, and unity in our shared faith. Embracing this promise means actively working towards reconciliation, understanding, and a shared sense of purpose within our church.

To cultivate this abundance, we must start with ourselves. It involves self-reflection and a willingness to seek forgiveness and extend it to others. It's about setting aside our egos and pride and embracing humility, just as Christ did. We can also foster unity through shared prayer and worship, engaging in open and honest dialogues, and focusing on our common mission rather than our differences.

The journey towards unity is both a personal and a collective endeavor. It begins within the heart of each believer and extends to the wider church community. Here are some practical steps we can take:
  • Personal Reflection and Prayer: Spend time in prayer, asking God to reveal areas in your life where you may be contributing to disunity. Seek His guidance in fostering a spirit of reconciliation and love.
  • Open Dialogue: Encourage conversations within the church about unity. These discussions should be rooted in love and respect, recognizing that differing opinions are part of a diverse church body.
  • Active Reconciliation: If you have unresolved issues with a fellow church member, take the initiative to reconcile. This might involve difficult conversations, but it's a crucial step towards healing and unity.
  • Participate in Church Activities: Engage in church events, small groups, and service opportunities. These shared experiences can strengthen bonds and promote a sense of community.
  • Lead by Example: Show grace and love in your interactions. Your actions can inspire others to do the same, creating a ripple effect of unity in the church.

Unity in the church is not just a lofty ideal; it's a tangible, achievable goal that reflects the heart of Christ's message in John 10:10. The thief may seek to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came to bring us life in abundance. This life is marked by love, joy, peace, and unity. As we strive to embody these qualities, we strengthen our church and shine as a beacon of Christ's love to the world. Let us remember that in unity, we find strength, purpose, and a deeper fulfillment in our walk with Christ.

In Love,
Pastor Jody

1 Comment

Shari Southards - February 14th, 2024 at 4:01pm

Good word!!