You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness. -Ephesians 4:4-6
There is so much friction and division among believers, you would think we all serve different God’s. Maybe some think they do. I’ve heard professed believers communicate with each other using the phrases, ‘My God…’ or ‘Your God…’ It’s usually in defense of a particular brand of scriptural understanding and it’s never with the goal of ‘staying together.’ It’s with the goal of ‘being right.’
What if two offended brothers had to stay outcasts until they could get along? What if they had to be locked in a room together, forced to hear each other out? You may never agree, but you have to find a way to get along. To live together…
I believe that we’re not supposed to give up on each other. We’re not allowed to write one another off. You can’t scratch out a name on God’s invite list. It’s not your party. So, with that in mind, how do you propose you get along?
We all have those people who see our worst when they look at us. They twist our words and hear what they want to hear. They try to put us in the mold they’ve made for us. It’s so tempting to want to lash out, to defend ourselves, but that is not our job. We can be firm, speak plainly, practice self control, but sometimes we lose our patience and want to bite their ears off. The temptation is to belittle them.
We serve one God. We’re all on the same path and will, one day, eat at the same table, worship side by side and be eternal neighbors.
You cannot get away from your family because of the Blood that ties you together.
But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. -Ephesians 4:7
We’re a multi-dimensional, multi-cultural, extremely diverse family, we’re not supposed to be a freaky group of clones. With so many differences, it’s no surprise that disputes occur. In a ‘church’ of actual people, there are going to be mistakes, hurt feelings and flattened toes.
The best way to do your part to stay together is to approach one another with humility. Be slow to speak, slow to anger and be patient. There is nothing more antagonizing than when you’re trying to have a conversation with someone who thinks they are spiritually or intellectually superior. The pretension is nauseating and impenetrable. The best way to deal with that is to hold your tongue. Time will tell the truth.
It’s an act of submission. Choose to be last. Be the least important, the least ‘right’, the least…
“So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all.” -Jesus, Mark 9:35
You’re not submitting to ‘man’, you’re submitting to the under current of the way God works. He lets those, who like to talk, talk themselves into their own trap with no help from you. Soon enough, the truth will be known and there will be no words needed to explain.
It’s an act of worship. We trust Him to defend us when we’re lied about and correct us when we’re wrong. When you hold your tongue, you get to learn the lessons in private rather than out in the public arena. We’re all being taught. Don’t draw attention to yourself with your relational drama and incessant need to be agreed with. Maturity helps you get along with others.
Maturity knows that God can take care of you better than you can take care of yourself.
May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus! Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.-Romans 15:5-7
It is utterly inhuman to not want to get your own way. It may be the hardest thing to do, but forgiving others and restoring relationships is the a blatant act of selfless God worship. Your dignity does not come from being the least guilty. Your worth does not come from the perception of the crowd you’ve drawn. Your honor is not in winning the debate. Your grandeur is in forgiving and forgetting.
Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget. -Proverbs 19:11