Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Rock and a Hard Place

Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers--Matthew 22:39

I do so want to get along with everyone, to be kind and considerate, to put others' needs before my own. But, darn, why is it so HARD? I have good intentions every day. Part of my morning prayer is to find a way to bless someone else, and I rise from it with hope and a smile, and then something happens. The phone rings. The cat throws up. The first person I contact has a burr under their saddle. Either my mood erodes or theirs does. Somebody asks me to do something that I didn't plan for or, worse yet, something that I shouldn't do. I want to live in friendly communion and end up in conflict. I don't like it one bit. Then I remember the part of the Lord's Prayer I just said:

Love your neighbor as yourself.--Matthew 22:39

This helps. Whether I delight in God's assignment, or disagree, or am unprepared, or tired, or compromised, this covers everything. With this in mind, I can always act correctly. I can welcome a situation with joy and open arms or I can disagree with the kind of love that comes with plain speaking. Either way, if I handle a situation with as much care as I would like to be dealt, I am safe.

The brotherhood I share with others is a gift from God just as much as practical gifts like preaching and teaching and evangelizing. My ability to walk alongside my brothers and sisters in Christ without punching or poking them builds us all up. We will have disagreements, of course, because everybody goes off course once in a while, but I can exhort, correct, even argue in the interest of defending God's holy Word as long as I do it with the same love with which I would like to be exhorted, corrected, and argued.

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.--John 4:11-12
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.--Psalm 133:1

We can live in unity even when we do not agree as long as our differences recall our common ground, our own sins, and the hope we share.

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