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A Plea for Unity

People say sometimes that the prayer of our Lord for unity has not been answered and they point to the many different sects and denominations among professed Christians. Of these divisions we very well are ashamed. And yet, despite them all, wherever real Christians get together they enjoy fellowship in the precious things of Christ. We are all one in Christ. The fact that Satan, our great adversary, has sent members of the same family to quarreling with each other is sad indeed, and should cause us to bow our heads in humiliation and self-judgment before God. As our unity is manifested in a practical way, our testimony has power with the world. On the other hand, nothing is so calculated to stumble the unsaved as finding that Christians are unkind and quarrelsome in their dealings with each other.

How quickly we realize that we are one when the hour of trouble and persecution comes. A fine old Armenian Christian who was greatly grieved by the divisions among Christians in America said to me one time, as the tears started in his eyes, “If they were exposed to the awful persecutions we had to know in Armenia, they would learn to value one another more.”

A missionary wrote to me lately and spoke of meeting another missionary of an altogether different group of believers in a foreign land where he was laboring. He said, “Any kind of a Christian looks mighty good to me down here.”

May we realize more and more our unity and act in accordance with it, so that the world may believe that God sent Jesus to be the Savior of mankind. Every time an unbeliever hears you making an unkind remark about another Christian, you are suppressing your own testimony. In the second century, when believers were characterized by love of the brethren, Tertullian wrote that even the heathen exclaimed with admiration, “Behold how these Christians love one another.”

—H. A. Ironside