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Where Does Unity Begin?

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As we have watched the news over the past few days, we have learned that someone is attempting to put terror in the hearts of Americans by the sending of packages containing pipe bombs to various locations. This is a horrible thing to do but it shows the depravity of mankind. No one who truly loves America and respects others would do such a thing. However, someone who dislikes America is willing not only to send out pipe bombs that may or may not detonate, but will stoop to even lower acts to attempt to divide our nation.

Yes, the issue is, we are a divided nation. And that division has led unreasonable people to perform unreasonable acts to create a further division in the land that many of us truly love.

The United States of America is a Democratic Republic, and within that structure we have the freedom to disagree with others, including the government itself. But disagreement that has constructive results should be done in a peaceful way, not in a way that either brings fear or harm upon others.

Yes, the problem in America is disunity and the solution for America is unity. But the big question is, "Where does unity begin?"

Let us remember that we are the United States of America. Among other things, that indicates that our nation is made up of 50 separate governmental entities, called states, that together form one nation. And within each state there are different ethnicities, religions, philosophies and traditions. Indeed, out of many we are one.

Even in the early days of our country, there were many differences of opinion. Some of those differences were solved in improper ways. But most of them were solved by reasonable thinking people who sat down and worked out those differences, putting selfish ideas aside for the sake of a united republic. And it worked.

The act of sending suspicious packages is not the problem in America. It is the symptom of the problem, which is disunity stemming from a selfish heart that results in acts of terror. The Bible says in Jeremiah 17:9: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Yes, a wicked heart results in wicked thoughts that will lead to wicked actions.

To build unity in America, each of us should consider submitting our heart to biblical principles that are centered around the teachings of Jesus Christ, which will develop true peace and unity. Looking back in our history, we could site many illustrations to show that is how unity came into fruition in developing the United States of America.

Our nation may be more divided now than it has been in any recent time. And it is very easy for each of us to point our fingers at others saying "they" are the cause for the disunity. But that will only create further disunity. So to build a constructive unity in America, I suggest the following components for each of us to consider:

Allow the Bible, which is the Word of God, to be your guide. Matthew chapters 5, 6 and 7 are good places to begin.

Respect others in their opinions. No two people will agree all the time.

Refrain from speech that has the potential to divide. Endeavor to speak to encourage others and direct them down the right moral path if they have gotten off course.

Always speak the truth. Deception and lies will certainly divide and create disunity.

Pray for one another. True prayer for others will always take away the desire to harm those with whom we disagree.

Avoid the "me first" syndrome and regard others as fellow human beings created by God.

Refuse to participate in any action that may potentially harm others.

Be courageous and do the right thing all the time in relation to others.

Be willing to respectfully discuss with others when differences occur so as to come to a peaceful resolution.

These are just a few thoughts to take into consideration in order to bring unity to our nation. But if each of us would translate these thoughts into actions we would be well on our way to a true United States of America that will result in a unity, which will in turn strengthen the nation.

And that is certainly needed.

Gary Dull is the executive director of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network, a board member of the American Pastors Network and a co-host of APN's "Stand in the Gap Today" daily radio program. He also pastors Faith Baptist Church of Altoona, Pa.

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