Why Unity? “Do not be unequally yoked”

I often find deeper and deeper understandings unfolding with the passing of time and the learning that comes from experience. I reflect on biblical truths and find evidence building, becoming more and more solidified, as the wisdom scriptures impart proves out in ways too many to name and number.

I well remember the sinking feeling that opened as a deep well within me when I looked into the eyes of a beloved young person who said to me, “everyone doesn’t believe the way you do.” Of course, this was not news to me. I’ve known since I was a child that people have varying beliefs and no two people agree on everything. What was news to me was to learn that the person with whom I spoke did not believe the same foundational, fundamental truths of scripture that I believe, the ones that serve as the ultimate source from which I find the guidelines for my deepest held beliefs and the way in which I go about living out my life from the simplest to the most complex of details.

Though I’ve gravely failed to live in perfect accordance with scriptural dictates, I hold them to be absolutely right and the one standard against which I measure all things. All things…

I don’t claim to have perfect understanding or wisdom. But I do believe that perfect wisdom and understanding exists in the mind and heart of my Savior who gave Words for us to read, to ponder, to engage daily as a means of learning and growing in truth, a truth that will do us only good and no harm.

In scripture, we are taught how to regard one another, how to speak to one another, how to pray for one another, how to serve one another. We are taught how to work, work hard. We are taught how to live, live honorably. We are taught how to think of ourselves, “not too highly.” We are taught who we are, beings “created to bring glory to God”. We are taught who God is, “love.” We are taught how to approach Him, “reverently.” We are instructed concerning tangible, material things, “let nothing be wasted.” We are taught how to approach business, “do not be slothful” and “be fair.” We are taught to encourage, to build up, to strengthen and to defend the weak.

The older I get and the longer I fight this fight for a good, meaningful life, the more deeply I recognize the precious gift of joining together with like-minded others. How wonderful it is to live in unity, believing the same foundational truths as those around us! What a comfort to come together with another person who views the world from the same vantage point, who adheres to the same guidelines for living, who frames experience as I do!

Meeting with Noah’s teacher last week, I found a mother, like myself. I found a teacher, like myself. I found someone who was humble and helpful, willing to pray with me concerning all things relating to my child. I do not have to tell her what I most want for Noah because they are the same things she most wants for her own children. Shared values are a foundation on which we build our lives. What a gift… Every parent interacts with their children’s teachers from time to time and many in public schools are faithful believers, yet at Unity, there is no barrier to prevent us from referencing scripture and praying together right there in the school. In fact, I’ve come to expect it. What a blessing…

To be unequally yoked proves ever more difficult to navigate when with someone closely connected in matters of daily living and matters of the heart. I often feel overwhelmingly thankful for my job. I am blessed to work with many who hold dear the same values that are embedded in my own heart. We speak the same heart language. Oh how this matters! We live very similar lives because we are living according to the same foundational principles. This is necessary for genuine unity. Do I love others who are different from myself? Absolutely. But without the same source of hope and joy, without the same principles on which we build our daily lives, we cannot be equally joined. I see it somewhat this way. Life is weighty. When yoked together equally, the distribution of weight is manageable. When we are unequally yoked, the weight will overbear on some as a result of those who refuse to carry their share.

The wisdom of scripture admonishing us not to be unequally yoked becomes clearer each day as I find comfort in those relationships where unity in Christ’s love and obedience to His Words is the tie that binds in a bond both gentle and strong.

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