As believers in His Son, God wants us to live in unity whether that be in our marriages, our families, our churches, our friendships, or our communities. This doesn’t mean that we must have the same backgrounds, nationalities, family of origin, color, personalities or upbringing. Our testimony as Christians to the world should by unity/oneness. Uniformity and sameness are not unity and oneness.
My dad and mom came from the same small community. In most cases, there were multi-generations of families in this community. So, they all knew what was expected of each other and roles were clearly defined. For example, within families the man knew what was expected of him as a husband and a father. You were frowned upon if you did not behave that way. The same was true for the women. Many of the families were farmers, ranchers, dairymen or local small-town merchants. Uniformity and sameness were relished and expected. It brought a bit of security to them.
However, life is not that way today. Now, our villages are made of people from all over the world. There is no oneness or sameness. As a result, there is constant churn and strife.
The 1st century world was very similar to this outside of Israel. The churches were made up of Gentiles who came from diverse heathenistic backgrounds along with local religious Jews yet Paul demanded unity. Notice what he says to the church in Ephesus, a large, powerful, multi-ethnic city in that day, in chapter 4:1-6, As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Because Jesus is the Lord of each of our lives and we live filled with the Holy Spirit and in the unity of the Spirit, God desires to dynamically build a community of oneness out of people that in the flesh are very different. Jesus prayed for us in John 17, “21 All of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” Our unity becomes contagious to our world.
We don’t have to look like each other, like the same things, live in the same communities, have the same ethnicity or nationality, dress the same way or smell like each other. However, Jesus demands us in the midst of our differences and diversity to love and accept one another as He loved and accepted us.