stay together

Posted: November 30th, 2009 | Filed under: God, life | 13 Comments »

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


13 Comments »


13 Comments on “stay together”

  1. 1 Michelle said at 9:33 pm on November 30th, 2009:

    Serena,

    You continue to amaze me with your writing. I am so thankful for the grace and humlility and love God has given you!

    This touches my sometimes unloving heart like no other. Whenever I read what you have written, I become encourage to do well. It is truly lovely. So, thank you, once again.

  2. 2 TheNorEaster said at 10:54 pm on November 30th, 2009:

    Those apples would make a wonderful pie.

  3. 3 April said at 3:38 am on December 1st, 2009:

    This is helping me so much.

  4. 4 Serena Woods said at 6:30 am on December 1st, 2009:

    Scripture tells us over and over to fight to get along with eachother. Religion can be so divisive. Above all else, Love it what sets us apart. Love wins.

  5. 5 April said at 6:54 am on December 1st, 2009:

    It's so funny. I have been feeling nervous about Christmas with my extended family. We are Catholic, Methodist, and a few others all sitting around at the table for Christmas dinner and rarely see each other except for Christmas and summer. We tend to see our different views on small details than the one we all worship… Yesterday, I found myself googling "keeping peace james 4.. " and phrases like that… found nothing that really helped me in the way I needed to calm my nerves, rest in Jesus, and look forward to seeing everyone and trust God to show me how to love selflessly so much that they enjoy my presence, not resent it!

    Then this morning, I checked graceisforsinners.com, Serena, and there it was… exactly what I needed, exactly the way I needed it worded for the way I understand. So cool the way God gives us tools at the perfect time. My heart is so ready to love on my fam. To listen with my heart and put love in action.

  6. 6 April said at 7:23 am on December 1st, 2009:

    oh, and I am the Southern-to-the-core-Baptist one who has always made quick judgemental remarks…then when everyone was gone, and I was left with my bitter heart, I cried and cried.. felt so much shame and hated the way I acted…but felt it was too late to go back to the others at that point I seemed so fake. So, this is for me. I pray they will see Christ in me this year. 🙂

  7. 7 ali said at 8:25 am on December 1st, 2009:

    Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the 'religion' of everything and our own opinions that we forget or fail to see how simple truth can be.

    God says do it, do it. The end.

    I want to shoot myself sometimes for feeling like I need to make it so complicated.

    I love to read your blogs because they say so many times what my heart know but my mind and words dont know how or why.

    My husband and I are in the midst of a custody battle with his ex-wife, who is refusing to let us see our 8 year old daughter for no apparent reason. And I was just telling him the other day. I hate being in court. I hate that I feel like we can't just talk to them and ask them whats wrong or how they are feeling or what we can do to help. I hate that she feels like we are out to get her.

    We were made to love. I feel like being in court and fighting and all this hatred just goes against every fiber in my being. And its because it is.

    Anyway. So thank you for speaking the truth. Love never fails, its patient and kind and slow to anger… its all so simple.

  8. 8 Jason said at 8:46 am on December 1st, 2009:

    "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."

    Wow…talk about pure truth. Keep bringin' in the painful truth, Serena!

  9. 9 Crying said at 9:17 am on December 1st, 2009:

    Serena, I'm going to post anonymously this time because we are in mediation right now with this abusive ministry we work for. We have loved and yet are still placed in a position of covering for the abusive leaders breaking of the law and abusive behavior towards the people in this ministry. We and the Board are putting our feet down firmly. The ministry needs accountability in a drastic way or it will collapse. The former cult leader we were under has somehow managed to slither his scaly belly back into our lives and he has NO right being here. He is DEFENDING the weasel in this ministry and telling US to leave. Whatever! You don't leave children with an abusive father and run for your own safety. You defend the children and help them get out OR make the father submit to the proper authorities or HE needs to leave. We have offered love but WITH accountability, he is refusing the accountability. He needs to submit or we blow the trumpet. Either this ship gets the right Captain or we jump ship and toss out the life preservers as we sound the alarm. I can love him and pray for him, but I will not be a victim anymore. There comes a time when a person has to say,"Enough is Enough."

    My head hurts, my heart aches, and breathing is difficult with this heavy burden on my chest. If it was only about us we would have left a long time ago. But there are baby Christians being hurt, badly! and many times illegally.

  10. 10 Serena Woods said at 10:52 am on December 1st, 2009:

    April: It will be interesting to see how this Christmas goes. 🙂 good luck!

    Ali: I don't envy the situation you're in. I would hate to be a part of a battle in court. It dehumanizing and degrading. But, I suppose, necessary at times. ugh.

    I don't understand a parent keeping a child away from her father. I never will. (unless he's abusive, or other common sense issues.) A parent who hinders a relationship between their child and the other parent is obviously harboring some deep issues infused with pain.

    Jason: You got it. 🙂

    Crying: What a terrible set of circumstances!

  11. 11 Joye said at 4:16 pm on December 1st, 2009:

    I just found your site and have been so blessed by my visit here!

    As for this post: Ouch, my pride gets in the way so often! We want to know all the answers and it so often makes us feel more important. Pride is the opposite of love. "Elitism" is the opposite of servanthood.

    I love what the Apostle Paul said "For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1 Cor. 2:2)

  12. 12 Serena Woods said at 4:34 pm on December 1st, 2009:

    Joye- Thank you so much for being here..

    I've come to notice that when you encounter the disgusting pride in another believer, it makes you search yourself for that same attitude and want it ripped from your life completely.

    Pride elevates your sin nature by standing on the backs of fallen believers. Humility sees your own reflection in their sin and teaches you what not to do. Love reaches past self and holds the broken up, pride digs within self and gains power as it holds the other down.

    Humilty feeds off the blood of Jesus, pride feeds off the blood of sin.

  13. 13 April said at 3:53 am on December 2nd, 2009:

    Oh yeah. the pride issue… stinks. this part said it all— "Pride elevates your sin nature by standing on the backs of fallen believers. Humility sees your own reflection in their sin and teaches you what not to do. Love reaches past self and holds the broken up, pride digs within self and gains power as it holds the other down.

    Humilty feeds off the blood of Jesus, pride feeds off the blood of sin." ….agreed.