Peace and Unity

Peace and Unity

By Executive Director, Rob Appel

Last month I wrote: “We all need to accept the people who came before us, and who are coming behind us. In unity and understanding, encourage those who do things differently in a positive way (even though things are not being done my way). And I also left you with “how we all can work together in maintaining our UNITY.”

The first thing we must do is agree on maintaining unity. This takes work — sometimes a lot of work! We have many different kinds of SDB Churches: traditional, contemporary, country/western, incarnation, West Indies, and whatever evolving congregations there may be. The interesting part is that each of these churches, in the style of its choosing, feels like it is obeying God and serving its community in its mission. But how can that be when they are all doing it differently? It’s the culture. But we still have to maintain the peace.

Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:3, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Allow me to suggest some things that can help keep the peace:

Avoid Arrogant Attitudes

Don’t criticize those that came before you and expect to have peace with them. Don’t wag your finger in a younger person’s nose and expect him to respect you. Chances are that someone before you did a lot to shape you into who you are today. And also, you have that opportunity to do the same for the next generation.

If we are honest about it, those who came before us weren’t always thrilled with how we did things. But some of them invested in us and trusted God was doing something new — and we respected them for that!

When everyone avoids making insensitive and offensive statements, peace and unity has a better chance to grow.

Respect God’s Many Ministry Opportunities

The local church or the denomination is not a battlefield for your pet peeve issues! Do not divide the family of God over petty matters, many that are not even Biblical.

It is a wonderful thing when we have a mutual respect for God’s ministry opportunities from

generation to generation!

Support a Culture of Peace and Unity

Did you know that peace is not achieved with silence? If you want a culture of peace between

the generations, it will need to be communicated clearly and often. Unstated ideals are just wishful thinking.

Creating a culture of unity and peace takes an understanding of what supports or rejects unity and peace. Positive reinforcement after a good interaction supports peace and creates unity.

Taking a practical approach towards a behavior is the right approach, especially before something bad happens. Criticizing someone in order to make yourself look good does not promote peace or unity. Patting yourself on the back, or causing others to look at what you have done in order to get praise from them, is self-serving and does not encourage unity.

To establish a culture of peace, you must communicate it wherever and however often and whenever necessary.

Finally…

If you are going to be in a family, value what the family values. Many churches and denominations have a common belief with diversity in ethnicity, language, and culture. But it is hard for some to see that diversity across generations. Make it a goal to work at unity and peace with those you minister with.

For you see, I do believe that Seventh Day Baptists are truly the most caring, compassionate, helpful, friendly, and kind people towards others. Sometimes we just have a hard time getting along with ourselves.

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