The Horrible Cost of Disunity
Recently in my travels, I stopped for a few moments at the site of a major Civil War battleground near Sharpsburg, Maryland. The battle fought there was best known in the South by the name Antietam. On September 17, 1862, Southern forces under the command of General Robert E. Lee moved north for the first time and engaged the Union troops in that general vicinity.
The battle became what is known as the bloodiest battle in American history. In one day, more than 3,650 soldiers were killed, with almost 23,000 total casualties recorded. It was a horrific scene on both sides of the battle. People were shocked beyond words at its carnage. For the first time in history, photographs were taken which brought the scope of the battle’s reality to the general public.
New York State Monument at Antietam National Battlefield
Most people do not realize that the casualties in the Civil War were so high that, to this day, they eclipse the total casualty figures for every US war combined, before and since!
As a person raised in the South, I have been fascinated with this war. The causes are many, but none can in any way validate the need for such a war.
What happens when disunity comes? Obviously in a civil strife such as that which occurred in our nation and certainly occurs in many others, there is great bloodshed. The horrific consequence of such a series of battles affects a culture for generations to come.
In God’s Kingdom, the need for unity is extremely important. Instances of disunity have affected and afflicted us for many years. What are the causes of disunity? There are many. Southern Baptists have experienced significant battles over serious theological issues. There have been multiple instances of disunity regarding methodology, ecclesiology, and certainly in these days specifically, soteriology.
Scripture is clear that we must deal with difficult situations. The Bible gives multiple examples of how to deal with situations in which we find ourselves at odds with one another. Overall the Scripture obviously calls for unity. Psalm 133:1 says, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers can live together.” Hebrews 12:14 encourages us to “pursue peace with everyone…”
Scripture provides the solution for disunity. In order for unity to be experienced, we must be sure our motives are correct. Paul talks about this throughout Philippians 1. He mentions another key factor in Galatians 5:16: “I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Paul says in 1 Timothy 3:15, “I have written so that you will know how people ought to act in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.”
It is extremely important that we all work hard toward unity. The world is winning too many battles! If there was ever a time we need to be together in the Kingdom, it is now. Many of the issues that divide us are secondary or tertiary. Let’s put our primary emphasis on working together to see the Great Commission accomplished! Let’s make sure that our motives are correct. Let’s make sure that we are walking in the Spirit. Let’s make sure that we are living with Christian love toward one another. Let’s admit our failings and faults, and apologize when we need to. Let us be a people who are dwelling together in unity!