LONSBERRY: Unity Is Simple

Building unity is simple.

Not always easy, but always simple.

To grow closer to someone – or to bridge divides between communities and nations – the process is simple and ancient, and best expressed in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

He said that our duties to one another were to love and to forgive.

We are to love one another as we love ourselves, and we are to forgive one another every time and in every way.

Those things are not always easy.

But they are always right, and they are always the way to reconciliation.

And they are always individual commandments. Hopefully the person or community on the other side of the divide also embraces them and their healing truth. But even if that doesn’t happen, they are still incumbent upon us.

We are commanded to love whether or not the other person loves us first or loves us back. And we are commanded to forgive whether the other person deserves it or not. There doesn’t have to be an apology, there doesn’t have to be a new leaf turned over, there just has to be forgiveness.

When we love and forgive, we remove the festering wounds that divide us. We take down barriers and remove obstacles to growth.

Love requires us to lay down hatred and resentment, forgiveness requires us to turn loose of ancestral grudges. These are the keys to reconciliation, not a rehashing of wrongs and allegations. Focusing on division fosters division. Focusing on family – the family of man – fosters brotherhood.

Further, once the boil of division is lanced through love and forgiveness, actual unity is built through common cause – by valuing and pursuing the same things.

Like God and country – faith and patriotism.

People are different, as individuals and as parts of a community or nation. There are differences of circumstance and culture, background and aspiration. But there can nonetheless always be commonalities – things which are universally embraced.

Like the God who is Father of us all, and the nation which is home to us all.

As individuals, in their way, try to grow closer to God, they strengthen their connection to others who are, in their way, trying to do the same thing. And when the normal variations or stresses of society may strain connections, having a shared priority – faith – unites.

As does patriotism – another shared priority.

Identifying as Americans – proud Americans – gives the most diverse society in the history of man a unifying core around which to build. It identifies us as a family, and that is a strength in good times and bad.

Love and forgiveness, and God and country.

Those are the things America needs to overcome the headlong dive to division and rancor which now spread like cancer through our social fabric. Whether the divide is along the lines of race or political affiliation, language or region, these four things are the answer.

And what we’re doing now isn’t.

Our various efforts to ostensibly fight division are instead fomenting division. We are throwing not water on the fire, but gasoline. We have industrialized the separation of America and are fanning the flames of discomfort at best and civil war at worst. It’s hard to tell if the leaders calling for unity are truly hoping for it, or working to forever doom it.

But if unity is what we want, if we want to restore brotherhood and build true community, the course is simple.

Love and forgiveness, and God and country.

Heal the festering wound, and focus on common cause.

Or fall to mankind’s lowest and most common hatreds.

Bob Lonsberry

Bob Lonsberry

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