THE HIGHEST STANDARDS FOR UNITY
“If your brother should sin against you, go and point out his sin.” —Matthew 18:15, our translation
Jesus prays that His Church would be one as He and His Father are one (Jn 17:21). Jesus has exceptionally high standards for unity in His Church so that the world would believe that the Father sent Jesus (Jn 17:21). This may come as a surprise to us, for our experience in our local churches may be that of denominational and factional disunity. Yet Jesus never changes His standards. He insists on His Church reflecting the unity of the Trinity.
To prevent disunity, dispel disunity, and build unity, the Holy Spirit works in the following ways. He gives us:
• the Sacrament of Reconciliation,
• the responsibility and wisdom to correct our brothers and sisters in Christ (see Ez 33:8; Mt 18:15),
• the charity and discipline to keep our differences with another brother or sister private (see Mt 18:15),
• the deeper presence of Jesus and the power of prayer when Christians gather in unity in Jesus’ name (see Mt 18:19-20),
• submission to the authority of the leaders of our church (see Mt 18:17), and
• redemptive suffering (see Jn 11:51-52).
The Holy Spirit enables us never to have to settle for less than the best unity in the Church. However, we must be docile to the Holy Spirit and follow His ways of reconciliation and unity exactly and sacrificially. Come, Holy Spirit of unity! (see 1 Cor 12:13; Eph 4:3) Come and give us a new Pentecost of unity!
Prayer: Father, free the Church to accept her participation in the unity of the Trinity, as soon as possible.
Promise: “Owe no debt to anyone except the debt that binds us to love one another.” —Rm 13:8
Praise: Have you ever been put in jail for “proclaiming the resurrection of the dead in the person of Jesus”? (see Acts 4:1-3) Risen Jesus, give me the strength of Your apostles!