There is no better time than now to talk about the importance of love and unity in the church and society. In recent years, we have seen a decline in love and unity in both the church and the wider world. This has led to an increase in social ills such as strife, kidnapping, ritual killings, burglaries, robberies, betrayals, assaults, and breaches of contracts. The church has also not been immune to this decline, as we have seen an increase in crises, divisions, fighting, migration, backbiting, malice, and court cases. These problems are all symptoms of a lack of love and unity. When people do not love or care about each other, they are more likely to hurt each other. This is why it is so important for the church and society to cultivate a culture of love and unity.

The Concept of Love and Unity

Love and unity are two concepts that are closely intertwined. Love is the foundation of unity, and unity is the fruit of love. When people love each other, they are more likely to be united. The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines unity as “the state of being one complete whole or condition of being united.” The Encarta dictionary defines it as “harmony,” or “harmony of interest, opinion, and feeling.” This means that when people are united, they are of one mind, one heart, and one purpose.

Second, love is better described than defined. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary described it as a ‘strong feeling of fondness for another person or object. In addition, the Encarta Dictionary also defined love as an ’emotion that keeps people bonded and committed to one another.’ In a paper presented by the President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention. Dr Adelani Akanji during the year 2023 General Workers Conference opined that from a Greek word perspective, love is in three categories:

Receiving love.’ This is the love that benefits only one party. It could become a parasitic type of love. He termed this, ‘Retaining love’ or ‘Love because’. It is a conditional love.

Agape Love: This is what people call unconditional love. He termed it ‘Releasing Love’, it is a sacrificial love. The one who loves not because of any gain but because it is the command of God. This is the type of love God demands from us unconditionally.

The Bible tells us that the church is called to be a light to society(Matthew 5:14). This means that the church is to be a beacon of hope and love in a world that is often dark and divided. The church is to show the world what it means to love and care for one another, even amid differences.

However, in recent years, we have seen a decline in love and unity in the church. This has led to a corresponding decline in the church’s ability to be a light to society. Instead of radiating love and unity, the church is often seen as a lace of division and conflict.

Causes Of Lack Of Love And Unity In The Church And The Society

Lack of Understanding of the Word of God: The inability of many to rightly divide the word of truth is a contributing factor to the lack of love and unity in the church and society (Acts 8:30). Being Biblical literate will help avoid deception and other heretical teachings of our time. Biblical Literacy is for all, hence the need to be given to it. (Hebrews 12:14; I Peter 4:8;I John3:11;4:7-8;12,20-21).

Self-Centeredness or Greed: This is when one is pursuing his or her interest without consideration for others and does not care when others are hurt. This attitude is one of the attributes of those who do not fear God.

Inferiority or Superiority Complex: Inferiority complex is when withdrawing from interacting with others. Whenever we allow inferiority or superiority complex to come into our midst, it would be difficult for unity and love to be active.

The Need for Love and Unity in the Church and among LEM Workers

Creating man in His image, unlike other creatures after He also created that we show love to one another (Genesis 1:26 Psalm 133; John 15:17; John 411-12).

God gave His begotten Son to Man: God also demonstrated His love to Man by releasing His Son Jesus Christ to die for Man to redeem Man from condemnation(John 3:16; Romans 5:8).

God testified to the power of unity: God Himself testified to what unity can do. In unity, nothing will be impossible for man. If we are to achieve our goals in life, we must be united(Genesis 11:6; Psalm 133; Acts 4:32).

Jesus Christ commanded it: Jesus commanded that we love each other as He loves us. Jesus also prayed that we be united. (John 17:21;13:34-35).

The Efficacy of Literacy Education in Fostering Love and Unity in the Church

Literacy education is more than just reading and writing. It promotes personal and societal development. Literacy is not only essential in any society, but it is also an inevitable tool that can bring understanding among the members of any society. it is in our Church and the society at large to be agents of love and aduncity.

Empowering Minds: Through Literacy Education, individuals engage with sacred texts, spiritual literature, and theological opportunities for personal growth, spiritual enrichment, and the ability to explore the depths of our faith.

Communication among church members: As individuals gain literacy skills, they can express their thoughts, ask critical questions, and engage in meaningful conversations about matters of faith. These dialogues create an atmosphere of open-mindedness, respect, and humility, where diverse perspectives are welcomed and celebrated. By actively listening to one another and engaging in thoughtful discussions, we promote a sense of unity that transcends differences and focuses on our shared values.

Cultivating Compassion: When we develop the ability to read and understand the experiences of others, we become more emphatic and compassionate. Literacy enables us to engage with narratives and stories from various cultures, backgrounds, and walks of life. It broadens our horizons, deepens our appreciation for diversity, strengthens our differences, and celebrates the inherent worth and dignity of every individual.

Empowering Service: Literacy education empowers individuals can uplift marginalized communities, and assist those struggling with individuals in their personal and professional lives. Through acts foster unity in action. ministering to people living with disabilities(PLWD)

Building Strong Foundations: Literacy education strengthens members and passes on the torch of literacy to younger generations and compassion.

Benefits of Love and Unity in Church and Society

In a world that often feels divided and fragmented, these qualities of love and unity have the power to transform churches and communities and foster a more harmonious coexistence.

Love breaks barriers: Love is a powerful force that can transcend barriers and unite people. It can create a sense of belonging and understanding, and it has the potential to bridge differences and build bridges of peace.

Unity signifies Strength that comes from Togetherness: When we unite, we pool our diverse talents, skills, and perspectives to create a vibrant tapestry of collective wisdom. This unity gives us the power to tackle challenges and expand ministries, prevailing in Christ’s life. God Himself attested to the Bible, “When people are united, they will be able to do anything they desire. “Genesis 11:6

It Fosters a Climate of Peace: Love and unity are essential for the development and well-being of communities. They foster trust, harmony, and cooperation, which lead to stronger families, neighbourhoods, and societies.

It Spreads Positivity: Love and unity have a ripple effect that extends beyond immediate circles. Acts of kindness create a chain reaction by spreading goodness throughout the wider community.It can lead to a society that is characterized by compassion, cooperation, and a shared sense of purpose.

It is Therapeutic: Love and unity have the power to heal wounds, bridge divides, and create a more inclusive and harmonious world. When there is love and unity, every member of the group is satisfied and forgiveness is not coerced on people. No one will lack any needed thing (Acts 4:34). It is sure that, together, we can create a brighter and more compassionate future for all.

Conclusion

Literacy education has the power to transform lives and deepen our bonds of love and unity. By empowering minds, encouraging dialogue, cultivating compassion, empowering service, and building strong foundations, we create a flourishing environment where everyone feels valued, understood,