"Kid President" is a nine-year-old in Tennessee named Robby Novak. He has osteogenesis imperfecta, a disease that makes his bones brittle and has led to more than 70 broken bones and 13 surgeries. He has steel rods in both legs.
Despite his disease, Robby has been addressing the nation through online videos. His platform is simple: To make grown-ups less boring, to make the world awesome, and to make people dance. In January he released a video titled "A Pep Talk from Kid President to You." It has been viewed by more than 15.8 million people.
Consider this part of the video: "If life is a game aren't we all on the same team? . . . If we're all on the same team let's start acting like it. We got work to do. We can cry about it or dance about it. We were made to be awesome. Let's get out there. I don't know everything, I'm just a kid. But I know this, it's everybody's duty to give the world a reason to dance. So get to it. You've just been pep talked. Create something that will make the world awesome. Play ball."
In a nation divided by politics, ideology, and culture wars, how do we get on the same team? We could start within the family of God.
My friend Jim Cymbala is the longtime pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle, one of the most influential churches in America. He tells this remarkable story: "About 20 years ago, I said something impromptu to the new members lined up across the front of the church. As we received them, the Holy Spirit prompted me to add, 'And now, I charge you that if you ever hear another member speak an unkind word of criticism or slander against anyone—myself, an usher, a choir member, or anyone else—that you stop that person in mid-sentence and say, "Excuse me—who hurt you? Who ignored you? Who slighted you? Was it Pastor Cymbala? Let's go to his office right now. He'll apologize to you, and then we'll pray together so God can restore peace to this body. But we won't let you talk critically about people who aren't present to defend themselves.' . . .
"To this day, every time we receive new members, I say much the same thing. That's because I know what most easily destroys churches. It's not crack cocaine, government oppression, or even lack of funds. Rather it's gossip and slander that grieves the Holy Spirit."
Pastor Cymbala is right. Jesus prayed for us that "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" (John 17:21). How will you answer his prayer today?