As a prisoner of the Lord, I plead with you to walk holy, in a way that is suitable to your high rank, given to you in your divine calling. With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience. Be faithful to guard the sweet harmony of the Holy Spirit among you in the bonds of peace, being one body and one spirit, as you were all called into the same glorious hope of divine destiny. For the Lord God is one, and so are we, for we share in one faith, one baptism, and one Father. And he is the perfect Father who leads us all, works through us all, and lives in us all! And he has generously given each one of us supernatural grace, according to the size of the gift of Christ.
Our world is pretty good at disagreement. Opposition in itself is not bad. We all have beliefs and expressing them isn’t the problem. However, when we express our beliefs with arrogance, it implies we are right and others are not. We all know the Pittsburgh Steelers are the best football team in the NFL. See what I just did there? Imposing our beliefs on others without exception, comes across as self-serving and insensitive.
Much like in biblical times, and centuries thereafter, people have varying opinions about what being a Christian should look like. In some cases, through our actions and words, we, as the Church body, have turned others away from a desire to know God. While it is true we should share the truth of God and bring others to Christ, we are not the source of that truth, God is. It is important to let Him guide our hearts and words when sharing His truths.
When Paul came to Athens he saw a city full of idols. The people of the city lacked the belief of who the one true God is. The sight left Paul emotionally distressed. Despite how he felt, he chose to speak to the people and create dialog, acknowledging their beliefs and finding commonalities that would lead them to the one true God (Acts 17:16-34). He wanted the people of Athens to understand, not just have his beliefs imposed on them. We can follow Paul’s actions when it comes to limiting divisiveness. God’s dream for us is not to focus on our differences, but to create an environment that allows Him to enter and reveal His truth.
Through his actions Paul was able to bring some of the people of Athens to an acceptance of who Jesus was. What better way to display God’s dream for us than to regift that dream to another.