Recently, I avoided bringing up politics with a friend.

Recently, I didn’t insert my opinion into an animated discussion taking place in front of me about religion.

Recently, I forgave a person who rejected me, intentionally and put aside in my mind the things they did to harm me.

I performed these mental disciplines for one reason — for the sake of unity.

Unity is oneness of mind and feeling among persons. It is concord, getting along, working together, having harmony, being in agreement.

I didn’t, in my recent efforts to create unity, deny or ignore the differences I have with others. I know what the differences are, and I have spoken and written about them in the past, but in these cases I choose unifying behaviors in the face of disunifying factors.

Often unity is choosing concord and team work and harmony, even when this doesn’t entirely exist. Unity is something we choose in the face of difference, tension and conflict. To chose to be united does not mean that we deny our conflicts, no, simply that we honor our relationships more than our differences at singularly significant junctures.

Of course this isn’t universal. There are some relationships that will not be repaired, some discussions during which we will not choose to overlook our differences, some points of view we will give not quarter to, some people we simply will not agree with, be in concert with, team up with, be married to or resolve conflict with — ever. But that aside, unity is still a huge core value for humanity.

Unity is a passion that puts aside a good to achieve a greater good.

Jesus’s passion for unity healed the bridge between Jew and Greek.

Abraham Lincoln’s passion for a United States of America saved the nation during its horrible civil war.

Unity, on a German soccer team, won the World Cup in 2014.

Great leaders and great teams have always trafficked in a profound sense of unity.

I have friends who are very conservative. I have friends who are extremely liberal. They are all friends, by my choice. I choose to be with people I don’t share basic points of view in common with. I share something greater than that with them. I share mutual respect, friendship, an honoring of differences, a common pursuit of the love of love and the love of God.

Through a passion for unity my friends and I amalgamate, consolidate, cooperate and affiliate around what we have in common. Through our eagerness for oneness we diminish, put aside, nullify and forget the things that divide us. Our humility — which springs from our awareness of our own ignorance and incompleteness without each other — this is a kind of divine miscibility. Through it, we mix.

Religion has a long history of division, conflict and war. Religious people have tended to be the most judgmental people on earth. It should not and need not be so. The truly spiritual were meant to be, even commanded to be bridge builders, gate openers, way-makers, love-makers, peace-makers and unity mongers.

“Blessed are the peace makers,” said Jesus, “for they are the children of God.”

Check out some of my modern proverbs, aphorism and epigrams about unity on my blog at http://www.modernproverbs.net

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