One morning during my prayer time, I was praying about a person I was collaborating with on a creative project. We had come to a point in the process where it was clear that we weren’t quite on the same page.
As I prayed, I felt like the Lord wanted me to reach out to my friend and simply fellowship with him for a while. I felt like the Lord was giving me guidance to just enjoy this man’s company and for us to be a blessing to each other.
In the midst of me praying about this topic, my three-year-old Andrew burst through the door.
“Gavin took my blanket!” he whined.
Gavin, who is four years old, came in shortly after, and both of them stated their cases. After trying to mediate the situation, I wasn’t making any progress toward a solution. As I was speaking to them, Gavin turned around and strolled out the door, blanket tightly wrapped around him. Andrew, still upset, said, “He didn’t give it back!”
Exasperated, I looked at Andrew and said, “Buddy, can you just let Gavin have the blanket right now? Can you do that for Daddy?”
He looked at me with a disappointed but adorable face and nodded his head. I said, “Thank you, buddy. That means a lot to Daddy. I’m very proud of you. That makes me very happy.”
In this situation, Andrew was completely right, but what touched my heart was that he didn’t have to prove it. He didn’t have to get personal vindication of this fact. He was willing to let the issue go simply because it pleased me for him to do so.
I’ve been blessed with opportunities to work on all kinds of creative projects for God’s Kingdom. One struggle I notice consistently is that we almost all (especially men) tend to elevate our mission above relationships with our co-laborers. We can become so focused on getting every detail “correct” that we forget how much God values love, unity, and harmony among His children.
I believe this is a major mistake because God values unity above our ideas of ‘correctness.’ Psalm 133 says:
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.”
I’m not aware of any Scriptures which would tell us that God commands His blessing where brothers argue or debate until one of them is proven correct. The law was fairly detailed and complex—giving people plenty of things to analyze and debate if they wanted to. Yet Jesus said that the entire law could be summed up in two commandments: Love God, and love your neighbor (Matthew 22:40).
In John 17, Jesus prayed to the Father for unity among all of His children. I can’t find a similar prayer where He asks for all of us to come into complete agreement about every possible interpretation, teaching, preference, or application of everything in the Bible or the Christian life. He never tells us to debate and argue and split hairs, analyzing Scriptures from every possible angle, until we can all see clearly that Bill or Bob or Joe has it right and the rest of us had it wrong.
Another thing I often try to remember is that unity is not the same thing as uniformity. Uniformity is often just an attempt to appear unified before others. In other words, it’s an attempt to fake unity. Why pretend that we all agree on one thing when we don’t? Why not just state the truth that there are varying viewpoints on a particular matter among the members of our team?
When you’re faced with a situation of feeling strongly that you’re right—and another believer you’re working with is wrong—about some aspect of the project or ministry, consider the option of simply letting it go. Let it go even if you ‘know’ you are right. God values unity above getting all the details perfect.
Sometimes we even go beyond the Bible and argue about manmade traditions. For example, I have seen Christians argue about things like capitalization of deity pronouns, to the point that projects and ministries almost collapsed. I’ve even been in the middle of some of those types of arguments myself before I knew better. Can you find one Bible verse about capitalizing pronouns? I can’t. This indicates strongly to me that God doesn’t care about that issue even the slightest little bit. But He does care if we’re wasting time and effort arguing (see Titus 3:9 and 2 Timothy 2:23).
Think, for a moment about the meaning of the word dwell, which God uses in Psalm 133. God wants us to stay in unity. He doesn’t want us arguing about anything, ever, to the best of our ability.
Besides the Bible, there is nothing on earth that is perfect when human beings are involved anyway. So what is the point in debating and striving for 100% perfect correctness? After a reasonable amount of effort to get on the same page, somebody might just have to drop an issue to move forward. God works through imperfect human efforts. Yes, we want to be accurate and correct and Biblical as much as we can. I am just saying that I believe there comes a point when God is up there listening to the arguments among His children, and above anything else, He just wants the fighting to stop.
I can testify that I don’t even want to be around my children when they are fighting, and I seldom care who is right or wrong. I want the quarreling to end, because most of the time, the things they are arguing about don’t matter very much anyway. When was the last time you heard two believers debating about how best to love God? It doesn’t happen. The most important things are incredibly simple.
Love one another.
I understand the tendency to think things like, “We have to get this nailed down just right. This is going to affect hundreds or even thousands of people.” My response? It may not reach anyone if we’re all arguing, looking to get our way, or to be proven right—because God pours out His blessing where brothers dwell in unity.