QUESTION #4: How can the individual, or those in leadership, help facilitate unity on a personal and corporate level?
“On a personal level, if you remember, the nation of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years because of a choice the majority made to listen to the wrong thing. There were 12 spies sent to spy out the land with 10 of them, the majority of them came back and said, “You know, it is a land, it’s a great place, flows with milk and honey. We got problems over there, got giants, all this kind of thing.” The nation of Israel listened to the majority instead of the minority. Joshua and Caleb said, “Look, we can take it.”
As a result of listening to the wrong people, they wandered for 40 years in the wilderness. During that 40 years, two guys, Joshua and Caleb, knew they were going to make it into the land and get everything God wanted. I’ve often wondered, how did they sustain 40 years of complaining, criticizing, griping, all the negative stuff the nation of Israel did so well? They did it by keeping their focus where it needed to be.
Now my point is this, for the individual, we’re going to have to refuse to focus on the divisions and focus on the greater, and that is what unites us. We’re going to have to have leaders, and that’s part of what we’re trying to do on this program today. We’re going to have to have leaders that stand up and say, “Look, stop the complaining. Stop the division. Stop it.” I don’t know if you remember the old Bob Newhart routine where he’s playing the part of a psychiatrist and someone comes in and they start unloading all their problems and they look at him as the psychologist, “What do I do to overcome this?” He said, “Stop it. Just stop it. Quit doing that.”
We’re going to have to stop the division. I’m talking about leaders in the African-American community, leaders in the white community are just going to have to say, “Look, I’m not going to listen to this ongoing, incessant cry to facilitate more and more division in America. Quit it. Stop doing it. We have great opportunity in America right now.”
I heard an African-American man on one of the other national talk shows saying this, “There’s not a single thing in America that I cannot do, that I cannot achieve, and for those that are saying I’m being kept down and I can’t accomplish things, that’s a lie,” and he’s right. Let’s stop it and let’s have leaders that stand up in America and quit fueling a fire and let’s have them extinguish a fire by saying, “Look, we need to quit this.” Let’s let that voice be heard in America.
…As far as corporately, years ago, I heard someone say this. They said, “Unity is not uniformity. We don’t have to see everything the same way.” He said, “You know, you can take two cats, tie them together by their tails and throw them up over a clothesline, and you may have uniformity, but you don’t have unity because they’re going to kill each other.” We don’t have to see everything the same way in order to have unity, but there are some non-negotiables around which we must unite.
I think the example of the early church, multiplicity of different ethnicities, different backgrounds. You had Hellenists, you had Greeks, you had Hebrews, and yet, they united around one thing, and that was the person and work of Jesus Christ, and that kept the divisions that could potentially become large, it kept them to a very bare minimum. I think the same thing is true in the country. We focus around certain critical pillars, God, country, the Constitution, freedom, responsibility, and if we focus on those things and rally around those things that are non-negotiable, without which this country cannot stand, we can have the unity we so desperately seek.
…Yesterday in the program we talked about Lincoln’s 10% plan. After the great division that was the Civil War, he wanted a united country, and he wanted the Southern states allowed in. Of course, he was critiqued and criticized and some may say he was even killed because of some of the things he advocated, making it easy on the South to come back into the Union, but again, it wasn’t about him, it wasn’t about winning. It was not about proving the South wrong for President Lincoln. It was about unifying the nation. He made it easy. He was very forgiving. He wanted to move on.
If we’ll stop scraping the scab of the past off and creating again an open wound in this country … It was a tragic part of our past, the Civil War. There have been other things in our country that have been tragic and unfortunate parts of our past that we have long since corrected. Let’s quit going back and scraping the scab off that. Let’s move forward, and I think the leaders of those days following the Civil War tried to do precisely that, those following the Vietnam War. I’m not saying we don’t remember the past, but we don’t focus on it in the form of trying to scrape the scab off. We move forward in unity as a nation. If we’ll follow their example, I think it’ll serve us very, very well.
…Finally, I think the pulpit and preachers of America, though not as influential as they were in the founding era of this country, I think they are the key. I think from the pulpits of America, we need messages preached about what’s happening in our country and calling us first and foremost back to the God of heaven and then focusing on those elements that made this country a grand and glorious experiment in freedom at the very outset. All you have to do is go back and read the sermons of the founding era, and you’ll get plenty of sermon material to speak on and to address. If the pulpits lead, if programs like this, if they take the lead, unity can come, and I think the pulpits are the key.”
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