Psalm 133 (NLT) How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe. Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion. And there the Lord has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting.
Do opposites attract? I think so. While leads to conflict, but tends to thrive in resolution. I see it in the dynamics of our family. My husband and I are dramatically different. Yet somehow when we met there was an instant attraction. I am an extrovert. He is an introvert. I talk all the time. He is the shy, quiet type. Together – I think we are a match made in Heaven…most days anyway. My husband is my life partner. We made a commitment to live and love the rest of our lives together. Most days this commitment is very easy to honor. But there are some days that my selfish, prideful self tries to get in the way of the seamless love that the Lord creates in us as part of this marriage. Days when submission is tough. Times when I think I am right and do not want to relent.
Our children are no different. Each one their own individual with different personalities. As I have watched them grow up and develop their own relationships with each other, each one gravitates toward the sibling who is their opposite, too. The ones who are most like me tend to have closer bonds with their dad. The ones like dad seem to be bound to me most often. But let something go wrong, or someone come against one of us – the connection is clear. Don’t mess with our family. The love that has blended this family together is based on God’s Love. Love is commitment. God desires us to love each other and all others with the same kind of love. The kind of love that lays our heart down for one another. Even in opposition, it is time for us to connect and thrive in all our relations. Though we are opposites, it is clear we attract. We are life partners. We are family.
As I continue to pack our home preparing for the big move, memories are stirred up. I was putting the contents of some shelves in a box and read the sign in my hand. “You call it chaos. We call it family.” Welcome to my world. This group can definitely raise a ruckus. With two teenage girls, there are days I am a referee with a whistle or must resort to a water hose to cease the conflict between them. As we tear apart this house in preparation, I know that it is with great anticipation. This is the only home they have ever known. They are excited about what is coming but the newness brings about some worry and stress. As the mama of this dwindling brood, it is my job to maintain harmony and set the example of love.
Harmony is agreement, accord, or harmonious relations. In music, it is the compilation of sound into a beautiful melody and song. It reflects unity. It is peace. Musicians who play their own notes and choose their own keys create clamor. If they are unwilling to join in with the others, it is clear to the audience. Love is not self-seeking. It is not prideful. People are though. We want our way every day in just about every way. It is clear in our friendships, families, work places and, yes, even in the church that there are many marching to the beat of their own drum rather than listening to the heart beat of God seeking to join His Song.
God loves it when His Children live in harmony joined by peace. Yet the composure of people is a difficult task. Each one must come with their own offering in order to join in one accord. Opposites attract but the coming together can be a struggle when dominated by opinion and pride. The Lord is reminding us today that He loves harmony among us. All of us. It provokes His Blessing in such a place…any place…dominated by unity. The commonality in our life is God’s Love demonstrated in the Sacrifice of His Son that dispensed grace in abounding measure so that we could love, forgive and bind together is His Greatest Desire.
Ephesians 1:4-6 (NLT) Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.
After years of craziness of a house filled with kids, now it is quiet as three have left our nest. When they all are together, I watch the older ones care and concern for their younger siblings and it melts my heart. When they love and encourage one another, it gives me such joy and peace. Their interaction with one another, though loud and obnoxious sometimes, clearly demonstrates their dedication to one another. I wonder if that is how the Lord feels when we love and care for one another. It has to be. He chose us to be His Children. God didn’t differentiate. He created us all with the desire for us to join His Family and live in His Kingdom. Human beings are the ones who keep choosing to love and devote themselves to lesser things. He poured out His Grace because it is His Greatest Pleasure to have us with him.
Ephesians 2:14-18 (NLT) For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.
My husband and I have been married for seventeen years. For more than a decade, we have worked together to keep this thing together. My number one tip for anyone who desires to be married is this – don’t even bother without Jesus. When two self-centered human begins try to form a partnership – things get messy. We need someone who will come between us giving us knowledge, wisdom and discernment. The person who you are dating will change into someone completely different when you share life with them, live with them, work beside them and have children. The personalities introduced to the mix only adds to the conflict. Commitment is the key. First commitment to Christ and then a commitment to others.
We must reconcile our life to Christ every day in order to find harmony in all other relationships. I am human. I have flesh. I definitely know that there is pride in me that seeks to tear apart the connections that Christ has placed in my life. When Jesus became our Savior, He gives us His Spirit. We become family. The church must learn to blend the family of God into the Body of Jesus Christ. Dominated by grace. Overwhelming love. Abounding in generosity. Giving ourselves completely to be life partners with every other Child of God. This is God’s Desire for us.
I Peter 2:16-17 (NLT) For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.
Jesus Christ laid down His Life for me. He stepped out of His Place seated on a throne to establish the Grace I needed but could not afford so I could live with Him forever. How do we become prideful in such a state? I don’t know but we do. Our relationship to Christ is solely based on what Jesus can do for me. It has nothing to do with anything I can do for Him. Christians exemplify pride in our religion and traditions much like the Pharisees. Church is a secret club one must be initiated into rather than putting out the “Whosoever Will Come” sign and meaning it. Jesus reminds us today that we indeed are free. Who the Son sets free is free is free indeed. How are you using your freedom today?
Don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Respect everyone. Two words that crumble our resolve in that it is clear human beings do not respect one another let alone everyone. Respect is esteem for the worth of a person. Christ died for everyone. We are told to respect everyone. Why aren’t we doing it? Love the family of believers. This is not just your current congregation but every single person who believes… even if it is not exactly like you do and they do not have the same practices as you. Fear God. To fear the Lord is to avoid sin and darkness at all costs including living a loveless life of self-seeking ventures. Comparing spiritual gifts with one another is no different than being jealous of the neighbor’s new car or boat. It is all from a source of pride. You either want what they have or judge them for having it.
I Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT) Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
The love suggested in I Corinthians 13 leads to harmony and peace with all mankind. True love has nothing to do with us but everything to do with Who first loved us. My love is tainted. It is skewed. It is imperfect and often has hidden conditions. The Love of God in us has certain attributes that allow us to evaluate our love for one another according to God’s Standard of Loving. If we get it right, we will live in an everlasting covenant that extends our life forever.
Proverbs 16:18 (NLT) Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.
Pride will destroy relationships and become a barrier of love if we allow it to. Pride crushes other people beneath our glares, opinions, need to be right and desire to be better than the very one that Christ led us to bond with. (Psalm 73:8) Arrogance is the acid that bubbles into conflict. Creating roots of bitterness that will kill the entire creative work that God is doing in us and through us. (Proverbs 13:10) Conflict builds walls while harmony brings them crashing down. Finally and maybe most important to note is that the Word of God clearly states that He will not tolerate those who slander their neighbor due to pride and conceit. (Psalm 101:5)
I John 3:9-10 (NLT) Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. So now we can tell who are Children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.
Righteous living is dominated by love. When our sons became teenagers developing an interest in girls, I was clear that they were to respect these young ladies. Treating them as though they were their own sisters. I believe that this advice applies to all our interactions in life with all people. God desires it of us. To love one another completely and committedly. Our boys are fiercely protective of their sisters. My hope is that when they are in the company of a date that this image comes to their mind that she is a Daughter of God and meant to be treated as such. As their mom, it is my job to lead by example. Do I treat my spouse as a Child of the Living God? Do I treat my own children that way? Do I treat others including my enemies as such? We are all bought with the same blood. Jesus died for us all on the very same day. His Intentions was that all might be saved. When I encounter people today, Lord let me see them as you do. We are all life partners reaching for forever and easing toward Eternity. God didn’t make us all look the same for a reason. Opposites attract because there is comfort in the fulfilment of our weakness by another. Ultimately it is the Grace of God demonstrated by His Son and the outpouring of His Spirit that bind us all together in love. We must strive to be the example of love in all things. Not human love, but amazing love like Jesus. Share your faith with another and introduce them to hope. Be a grace giver not a grudger. Be loving not judgmental. Be good to someone today just like our Father is good. Be sure that no one is left behind for the enemy is real and looking for the one who we forget. (I Peter 5:8-9) Learn to live as life partners with everyone in love with Jesus. There is a harvest of blessing awaiting those who choose to sow in love daily.
Galatians 6:9-10 (NLT) So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.