“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul”
Solomon pulled no punches in the sixth chapter of Proverbs. He flatly declares that there are six things that the Lord hates, seven things that He loathes (Proverbs 6:16-19). Every single one of those detestable things inhibits walking together in unity.
A proud look. Conceit, comparison, and competition are the enemies of unity.
A lying tongue. The words that proceed from our mouths come from our hearts (Matthew 15:18). If lies, deceit, manipulation, and exaggeration pour from our lips, there is no basis for trust, no foundation upon which to build relationship. Lying destroys unity.
Hands that shed innocent blood. A man raises his hand against his wife. A lone gunman walks into a crowded theater. Children are sold into slavery. Everywhere abuse occurs, where innocent lives are poured out, where blood is spilled, life is diminished and destroyed. Separation and disconnection – not unity – preside.
A heart that devises wicked plans. The Joker and Lex Luthor might come to mind when we think of wicked plans. While global domination may not figure into our future, any plan that leads us away from God’s plan -- a secret tryst, an illicit social media post, a dishonest business transaction -- is evil. Such scheming leads us away from unity.
Feet that are swift to run to evil. Moral depravity pulls at us from every side. No need to plan – how easily our feet slide down this slippery slope. Sin – evil – always leads to broken relationship with God and with those we love here on earth. Those who hurry to pursue their own wicked desires break off unity.
A false witness who speaks lies. In a specific context, someone who perpetrates untrue statements about another can lead to unfair judgments and imprisonment for the victim. In a broader sense, slander and gossip can initiate and perpetuate untruths against another that lead to ruin. Marriages break up. Partnerships dissolve. Reputations are destroyed. False witnesses inhibit freedom and sabotage unity.
One who sows discord among brothers and sisters. The very word “discord” indicates conflict, friction, hostility and disagreement. Most of us say, “Well, I would never!” But it only takes a small spark -- one eye roll, one raised eyebrow, one pointing finger, one whispered accusation, one well-placed insult – to stir up a conflagration that rages for years. Discord burns unity to the ground.
If we look around and see disunity in our relationships with spouses, co-workers or fellow Christians, let us examine our own hearts. Has one of the practices above driven a wedge? God has provided a way back: repentance leads to restoration.