Live In Harmony With One Another (revised)
Developing Consideration in Relationships
As a minister, one of my duties is to give counsel. Sometimes it's to couples before they begin their marriage, and then, on other sad occasions it's applied in an attempt to save a marriage that's falling apart. I find the following study not only useful in both these instances, but in most every situation where conflict has opportunity to enter the picture. Most of the time that's a chance that lurking in the shadows... everyday of everybody's life. Over the course of time, I've seen relationships break down that were full of love or respect. If anything, these two components might be the reason that it was only a breakup and not something tragically worse. The ingredients that are missing, and in almost every case, are these...
consideration... and harmony.
Romans 12:16 (NIV)
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Simply put “Harmony” is a state of compatibility or agreement. It is that condition that exists when the progression of things, (actions, dealings, opinions, etc.) co-exist without conflict or clash.
This passage which again comes out of Romans 12, gives us some clue as to what is necessary for a lifestyle of harmony.
Control Your Pride :
The Bible talks about pride on many occasion… mostly in a negative way. Here the emphasis is put toward developing an association or relationship with others. Take time and spend time getting to know each other… not just each others names.
Usually, when we develop feelings of resentment, they result when we view the actions of others as negative and can't attach any sound reason to explain it. As we question their actions, we began to question them as well. They become our focus and because we're at odds with the unresolved and unexplainable question... anger creeps in. Human nature, which is fallen and sinful, makes it hard for us to admit that we don't have all the answers. The result, at least in our unconscious mind, is that they (the other party) are at fault. Because of our desire and need to feel superior... it's our go-to solution. It's also an explanation of the progression of "Pride" and why it's a danger when unchecked, and not understood. We tend to judge everything and everybody by our own self imposed standard... at least until we learn not to.
This is the point where consideration must be called upon... nothing else stands a chance. The book of Philippians gives us a look at what "Biblical Consideration" is meant to be.
Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
First, consider their needs and the point of view from which they see things. Don't get me wrong... I'm not urging an understanding of their view, just a effort to look from their side of the fence. Second, consider the value you place on them as well as on yourself. Who is more important? If its you... something is already wrong. Humility takes the back seat. An effort to view them as more important benefits both of you. It should become clear as we look further. The third consideration is the relationship, or more acutely, the value that's placed on it. When the relationship itself is important, then all parties involved in it become "Equally Important." There are no "Top Hats" and no "Little Caps" - no "Big I" and no "Little U." With everybody equally important, there is no room for superiority. To ensure that nobody ascends to take those shoes... everybody practices taking the back seat of humility, viewing everybody else as more important than themselves. This levels the playing field and keeps things in balance... a win-win situation. And don't be afraid to talk to each other. A bit of communication might allow information that could serve to answer those unexplainable questions... resolving them before pride has a chance to fester and grow.
Do Not Be Conceited :
This language is clear enough. It seems to be stated more as an imperative, making it necessary for us to give priority to following it.
As explained earlier, when pride goes unchecked it feeds the desire to feel superior. This is the seed from which conceit is birthed. When one becomes conceited, they've attached an exaggerated sense of self-importance to their world view. No wonder that some of the synonyms associated with the word include: vain, arrogant, egotistic, and bigheaded. What started as a negative view of someone else's action, is now a negative action of the person holding the view. Remember, we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against powers... and spiritual wickedness in high places. The highest place for any man to ascend to is the seat that gives him authority over an unchecked will.
This is likely the most dangerous place of all. Whoever occupies this seat, sits in direct opposition to the "Will of God." Remember Nimrod and the "Tower of Babel", a good example of an unchecked will that stands against God. It should be easy to see how conflict becomes the end result of this pattern. What's more important to take note of is the fact that in addition to a human opponent, the fight is now against one with whom there is no possibility of winning... "God Almighty."
The Big I
The Devine Will Of God
Now that we have identified some things to pay attention to… lets take a second look at the scripture in its context with the verses that come just before and after.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.
All in all, we can gather some good insight for daily practice. Learn to identify with those around you, (rejoice and mourn). Don’t wait for weddings and funerals, but look for ways to put this into your daily activity and identify those things that are of real importance in dealing with those around you. Understand that evil never comes from God… so to repay with evil is also not acting in a Godly way or with a Godly Spirit. When looking to do the right thing… learn to take your direction from the example of Christ.
In all things, Jesus was obedient to the Will of His Heavenly Father. Even when dealing with His enemies, although firm, He was without malice. There was never any self serving agenda, no hint of anything associated as vile, or harboring vanity. Even when it would seem burdensome to do so, His manner was still to trust in God. I remind you of the very words He spoke in His prayer on the Mount of Olives, "... nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."
God is not of this world. He is a spirit as well as a supernatural being. The Will of God, emanating from Him, comes to us from the Spiritual Realm... and it comes with full authority and power. That Supernatural Will is well above the will of any mere man. It's unwavering, unchanging, and firm... it can be counted on... always. Even when we don't understand it, we can still trust it. It's the one thing we can rely on to level the playing field. While our points of view will be as many as there are men to count... the Will of God is one. As Paul pointed out to the Romans, it's good... acceptable... and perfect. God's Will is the Key that unlocks the door and makes harmony a reality.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Let,s all make an effort to "live in Harmony with each other"...
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