People Worldwide Are Being United—How?
HOW would you define “unity”? To some, the word simply means the absence of friction or strife. For example, if two or more nations sign a treaty and agree to the terms of peace, it might be said that they are in unity. But is that really the case? Not necessarily.
Consider: Throughout history, thousands of peace treaties have been made and broken. Why? Often it is because world leaders are more concerned with their own supremacy than with peace or unity. Then, too, some nations are fearful of what could happen if they were to fall behind others in military might.
Thus, the fact that two nations are not at war does not mean that they are united in peace. Really, are two men with pistols pointed at each other at peace simply because neither has pulled the trigger? Such a view would be absurd! Yet, that is the situation in which many nations today find themselves. Growing mistrust has given rise to fear that one day weapons will be launched. What has been done to prevent such a disaster?
Nuclear Fears—A Threat to Unity
Many look to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Approved in 1968, this treaty forbids the development of nuclear weapons in lands that do not have them and limits their spread in lands that do. The goal of the NPT, which has now been ratified by more than 180 nations, is eventually to achieve complete disarmament.
Noble as that objective may sound, some critics see the NPT as little more than an attempt to keep certain countries out of the “nuclear club”—to prevent those nations that do not have weapons from developing them. Thus, it is feared that some who have signed the treaty might have second thoughts. Indeed, some nations view it as highly unfair that they should be forbidden to develop weapons that in their opinion would enable them to protect themselves.
Compounding the issue—perhaps even raising the risk of danger—is the fact that no nation is prohibited from developing nuclear energy. This has caused some to fear that nations that are supposedly using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes might be developing nuclear weapons in secret.
Even nations that already have nuclear weapons may disregard the NPT. Critics say that it would be naive to expect heavily armed nations to eradicate or even reduce their stockpile. According to one source, “to achieve this . . . requires such a level of friendship and trust between countries currently opposed to each other [that it is difficult to believe that] this can ever happen.”
Human efforts at unity—no matter how sincere—have proved futile. This comes as no surprise to Bible students, for God’s Word says: “It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23) The Bible also candidly states: “There exists a way that is upright before a man, but the ways of death are the end of it afterward.” (Proverbs 16:25) Human governments can go only so far in achieving unity. Still, we are not left without hope.
The Source of True Unity
The Bible contains God’s promise that the world will be unified but not by man’s efforts. The Creator, who purposed that mankind would live in peace worldwide, will accomplish what man cannot. To some, all of that might seem far-fetched. Yet, God’s purpose from the very beginning has been for mankind to live in peace and harmony. * Many scriptures in the Bible give evidence that bringing the human race into a unified condition is still God’s purpose. Consider just a few examples:
• “Come, you people, behold the activities of Jehovah, how he has set astonishing events on the earth. He is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth. The bow he breaks apart and does cut the spear in pieces; the wagons he burns in the fire.”—PSALM 46:8, 9.
• “They will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain; because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.”—ISAIAH 11:9.
• “He will actually swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will certainly wipe the tears from all faces. And the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for Jehovah himself has spoken it.”—ISAIAH 25:8.
• “There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.”—2 PETER 3:13.
• “[God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”—REVELATION 21:4.
These promises are reliable. Why? Because as the Creator, Jehovah God has the power and the ability to bring unity to mankind. (Luke 18:27) He also has the desire to do so. In fact, the Bible calls it God’s “good pleasure . . . to gather all things together again in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth.”—Ephesians 1:8-10.
God’s promise of “a new earth” in which “righteousness is to dwell” is not mere wishful thinking. (2 Peter 3:13) Regarding what he promised, Jehovah God states: “It will not return to me without results, but it will certainly do that in which I have delighted, and it will have certain success in that for which I have sent it.”—Isaiah 55:11.
United by God’s Word
As noted in the preceding article, religion has often played a role in dividing rather than uniting mankind. This is cause for serious consideration, for if we accept that there is a Creator, is it not reasonable to expect that worshippers of him would be at peace and in unity with one another? Most certainly!
Religion’s divisive effect on mankind is no reflection on Jehovah God and his Word. Rather, it is an indictment of religions that promote man-made schemes for unity instead of upholding God’s purpose. Jesus called the religious leaders of his day “hypocrites” and said to them: “Isaiah aptly prophesied about you, when he said, ‘This people honors me with their lips, yet their heart is far removed from me. It is in vain that they keep worshiping me, because they teach commands of men as doctrines.’”—Matthew 15:7-9.
In contrast, true worship has a unifying effect on people. The prophet Isaiah foretold: “It must occur in the final part of the days that the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, and it will certainly be lifted up above the hills; and to it all the nations must stream. And he will certainly render judgment among the nations and set matters straight respecting many peoples. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore.”—Isaiah 2:2, 4.
In more than 230 lands today, Jehovah’s Witnesses are responding to the instructions provided by Jehovah God regarding the ways of unity. What is the foundation of their unity? The apostle Paul wrote: “Clothe yourselves with love, for it is a perfect bond of union.” (Colossians 3:14) The original-language word that Paul used for “bond” can refer to the ligaments of the human body. Such ligaments are as strong as rope, and they serve two vital functions. They hold body organs in place, and they fasten bones together.
It is much the same with love. This quality does more than simply prevent people from killing one another. Christlike love allows individuals of differing backgrounds to function together in a peaceful manner. For example, it enables people to live in accord with what is commonly called the Golden Rule. As recorded at Matthew 7:12, Jesus Christ stated: “All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must likewise do to them.” Following this guideline has helped many to overcome prejudice.
“Love Among Yourselves”
Jehovah’s Witnesses are determined to prove themselves to be Christ’s disciples by observing what Jesus said: “All will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:35) Such love has been demonstrated in a remarkable way at times of racial unrest and political turmoil. For example, during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Jehovah’s Witnesses demonstrated their love for one another. Witnesses of the Hutu tribe put their own lives in jeopardy in order to protect their Tutsi brothers!
Of course, it is unrealistic to expect the nations of the world to develop neighbor love to the extent that it will bring world unity. According to the Bible, that will be achieved by God in his due time. Even now, however, individuals can clothe themselves with love and achieve unity.
During the past year, Jehovah’s Witnesses spent more than a billion hours calling on people and talking to them about the Bible and its value in modern-day life. Accurate knowledge of God’s Word has united millions, some of whom once harbored hatred for one another. These include Arabs and Jews, Armenians and Turks, Germans and Russians, to name just a few.
Would you like to learn more about the unifying effects of God’s Word, the Bible? If so, please contact Jehovah’s Witnesses locally, or write to the appropriate address listed on page 2.
^ par. 12 For more information on God’s purpose for mankind, see chapter 3 of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
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Thousands of peace treaties have been made and broken
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The application of Bible principles has accomplished what human governments cannot
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God’s Word points to the Source of true unity
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Jehovah’s Witnesses from Hutu and Tutsi backgrounds build a place of worship together