Psalm 133:1 "How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!" While I was in Princeton last week, my wife shared an experience of hers with our dogs. For those who don't know, three weeks ago I adopted a 18 month old Australian Shepherd mix and 2 weeks ago, Amy and Rachel adopted a 6-8 year old German Shepherd mix. These two had only visited with each other briefly (since I am in Stillwater and Amy is still finishing seminary in Princeton) and they really didn't get along very well! Amy decided to take both dogs with her to deliver Rachel to school (I guess she is a glutton for punishment!) However, the dogs were content to ride together in the back seat and no fighting occurred! Of course, this made Amy VERY happy!
As happy as Amy was when the dogs got along, just imagine how happy God is when his children get along! It is good and pleasant when we live in unity. Now living in unity doesn't mean that we have to agree with everything that the other person believes in, but it does mean that at times "we agree to disagree." The Evangelical Presbyterian Church states it this way, "In Essentials, Unity; in Non-essentials, Liberty; in All Things, Love." If it is not essential, we need to let love reign.
The big problem I see is that many people disagree on what is "essential." For me the essentials are easy enough to decipher. If the Word of God says it, it is essential. If it something that the Bible doesn't speak to specifically, then what does the Bible say that relates to the situation? Again, it comes down to your view of Scripture. I believe the Word of God is true (All of it) therefore Scripture allows me to state with certainty what is essential. Those who do not have this same view of Scripture will have a problem determining what is essential. All I can say to them is, "Good luck!" Without the absolutes of Scripture, unity will always be hard to come by.
So, let us do our best to make our Father happy--let us strive to live together in unity!