Time to stop competing
Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay. (Sallust)
A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. (James 3:3-6)
Harmony is probably one of the most difficult things for humans to achieve. Why is that? It could just be this propensity we have to always seek our own 'best interest' in life, or our insane desire to always be out ahead of each other in one way or another. Harmony can be disturbed when competition becomes the focus. It can be destroyed when envy leads us to not only desire to be 'ahead' or 'better than', but to achieve it regardless of the cost to us. It might just be that we desire harmony, but have no clue how to achieve it, having been in competition with one another for so long we don't even realize we are. It doesn't take much to achieve true harmony - just lives committed to one purpose. Oh, that isn't all that easy, you say? In Christ, all things are possible - even harmony!
The main culprit in the destruction of harmony in the home, workplace, or communities might just go overlooked because it is so simple - our words. All of us need to know the power of our words. We also need to understand the motivation behind them. It is one thing to say 'nice things' - it is another to actually have the internal motivation that means them. I can say you are beautiful, but on the inside, I could be envious of your clear complexion, thin figure, and perfectly coifed hair. The words said one thing, but the internal 'meaning' of those words was quite different. The Holy Spirit is the only one who can actually help us each bring our 'internal motivation' and our words into unity. We need the power of God's Word working within us if we are ever to achieve perfect harmony.
Sometimes we believe harmony is really the achievement of consensus - the big word that just means we came to some 'common ground' we can each agree to pursue. In terms of obedience to God, it is rare that we reach 'consensus'. God requires certain actions on our part - they aren't negotiable. One of those things is love - love one another as he first loved us. Harmony requires understanding and empathy. It means we get out of ourselves long enough to see things the way God sees them - allowing him to move our hearts as his heart is moved. That may see a little too simple, but if we began to see things and others as God sees them, do you think we'd still be in competition with one another? Instead of competing, we'd draw another along so they could enjoy what God provides so abundantly. Just sayin!