Sunday, May 26, 2019

Can we all get along?

How hard is it to get along with each other? HARD! How big does your tolerance have to be at times? BIG! How open do you have to be to finding ways to forgive one another? WIDE OPEN! This 'getting along' thing is harder than we might want to admit. If it was all that easily accomplished - there would never have been the first war, the first school yard fight, the first divorce, or the first debate over any issue! Doors would never have been slammed, feelings would never have been hurt, and work place violence would never have become an issue, either. If 'getting along' is the goal, then it must be achievable - because God never gives us goals that are not achievable in his grace!

Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor. (James 3:17-18 MSG)

A healthy and robust community is our goal, so understanding it begins by being in right relationship with God that we come into right relationship with each other is important. Yes, it is hard work - but every step we need to take to accomplish this goal is given to us in the Word, in times of prayer, and in simple use of our common sense. We need to be sensitive to the needs of others - but will we ever see those needs if we are always looking no further than our own needs? We are to be open to the ideas of others - but will we ever see those ideas come to fruition is we are always demanding our own way? Not likely!

We don't just get along by going along. We don't just go along with the plans of another and find we are getting along with each other. At some point, we are going to get a little disgruntled with always having to follow the plans of another - because we have ideas of our own and we sometimes want to do what we want to do. If this is the case, we need some way of 'incorporating' each other's needs into this thing called 'community'. Did you realize the root of community is common? It means we find things in common and we work to keep our attitudes in line - so that the community is maintained. There is no better 'common ground' than at the feet of Jesus.

Each of us has a need for Jesus in our lives. We ALL need his grace to be at work in us. Yet, we create scenarios in our imaginations in which there is more of us at the helm than there is Jesus. We don't want anything to do with finding out what God wants of us in the circumstances that arise - we'd rather just plunge ahead with our own misguided ideas and wants. Isn't it about time we look around us at those God has placed in our community and ask ourselves how well we are doing more than 'getting by' in that community?

God's desire is that we 'do' the hard work of getting along with each other - not by one being a doormat for the other, but by allowing him to be the center of each relationship. When he is at the center, there is no room for our endless selfishness to be in control. We find we are more understanding of each other, tolerant of those idiosyncrasies we ALL have, and we desire to give a little - take a little, but in shared recognition that God is the center of our community. Just sayin!

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