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Strength in differences

Sep 14, 2022 | Fall 2022

Working together through disagreement. By Abby Ciona

When I say the word teamwork, you will probably either cheer or groan. It’s a fairly controversial topic for most people. I always dreaded group work in school: it feels like I would constantly get put in groups with people that I don’t typically get along or work well with. There are usually clashing personalities and strong opinions on how the work should be done. To top it off, some people would slack off, while others would take over and do it all themselves. It can seem as if working with others is more of a frustrating inconvenience rather than a positive opportunity to help each other grow. Wouldn’t it be less of a hassle to just do all the work ourselves so that we wouldn’t have anyone to disagree with?

As much as we struggle to work with other people, did you know the Bible says that teamwork is actually important? God made us for community and relationship: to help, support and encourage each other (Genesis 2:18). Collaborating with others makes us stronger (Ecclesiastes 4:9). Our disagreements may come from diverse perspectives and these can teach us empathy and new ways of looking at the world, enabling us to learn from each other and grow together.

It’s impossible to avoid disagreements in our world. We’re divided on social issues, and social media can easily be used as a battle- ground for warring factions. But when we face disagreements, we have a choice on how to react. We could choose the negative way: to try to destroy the opposition or close ourselves off completely from it. Or we could choose a much more effective way: to respectfully resolve the issue and be open to learning from our differences.

In all disagreements, whether big or small, it is important to remember the wisdom laid out in Ephesians 4:1–5 and Titus 3:1–9: to seek peace and unity and to be humble, patient, considerate and loving. Remember, we are all made by God in His image with a purpose. Even when we may seem to be polar opposites, we actually have more in common than we realize! We are all messed up by sin, but God has offered us His forgiveness and grace. Therefore, we should respect others and, even when we don’t agree with them, reflect God’s grace and love (Ephesians 2:10).

Our differences are unique strengths and gifts that can help us work together to accomplish even greater things than if we were alone. If we were all the same and agreed on everything, how would we grow and learn? We all are different, but we all have important roles to play in a team (for more on that, read 1 Corinthians 12:4–31 and Romans 12:3–8).

Our differences can help us work together to accomplish even greater things.

Especially with other Christians, we should be the best example of teamwork in the world. Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of being divided by our opinions and differences, we stood together as a family of faith sharing Jesus’ hope? Could you imagine what social media, school and workplaces would be like if Christians worked together to show Jesus’ love instead of only criticizing the faults of others? We may all be different, from different backgrounds and with different life experiences, yet we are all united in Jesus and the gospel, working toward one goal of following our Saviour and glorify- ing Him in all that we do (1 Corinthians 3:6–9).

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Abby is an internationally published writer who loves encouraging young people to find their place in God’s story. Abby has been visiting MBC all her life but worked there for the first time in 2022. She is currently studying digital media and production at Redeemer University. Connect on Instagram @abbyciona.

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