I think oftentimes we lose the sense of unity that is ours in Jesus because of either too high or too low expectations of ourselves and each other.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his wonderful book, Life Together speaks of our vision of community being the enemy of real community. That is, we have a certain picture of the way it should be, and we want to help it to that goal that we see, our vision. But in doing so, we end up killing community, and in the end despair not only of it and other people, but also of ourselves.
On the other hand we can have too low a view of community. That is, we can think there's little or no hope for any true community in Jesus, and therefore we're not going to sweat it, but will calmly keep basically to ourselves and our few friends, and let the rest go as they may. Of course for those of us who attend large churches, or even medium sized, there is no way we're going to get to know everyone well. But I speak here of a mentality of simply keeping to ourselves and our buddies, because we find reaching out beyond that so hard, and unfruitful.
The answer, surely, is grace. We need grace on the one hand, to accept the fact that we are all sinners. That God has begun a good work in us through Jesus, and that we're in process. This means that we need to accept each (Romans 15:5-7 taken out of context, but has application) other just as we are, including ourselves. Yet also look to God in his grace to be growing us through our communion with him, into a fellowship that is a blessing to one another, and out from that to the world.
On the other hand grace is needed to believe that God is doing a work in spite of ourselves. And that we need to look to him and for signs and evidences of that work in ourselves and in each other. That we would not lower our expectations but believe that God can make us into a fellowship that in Jesus can bless each other and the world. That in the Spirit we already have a unity which we're exhorted to work hard at keeping.
So we need to work on keeping that balance.
What might you add to this, or any thoughts?