IN a letter to the church at Ephesus, the apostle Paul makes this statement: “Make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

I tend to be a confronter. If I think injustice is being perpetrated, or that important issues are being swept under the carpet, I cannot just let them go – they have to be addressed.

However, disagreement and debate, as long as it is carried out with humility, does not in itself constitute disunity. This comes when we set ourselves against the person with whom we disagree, usually through pride, self- interest or downright stubbornness.

When our attitudes are wrong, we can make enemies of people we should be working alongside over relatively trivial issues.

When I find myself in disagreement with someone, if I take the trouble to get to know the person behind the opinion, I can understand more about why they believe what they do and vice-versa. We may not come to ultimate agreement, but we can listen to each other with mutual respect – and maybe become a little wiser in the process.