“Living in Harmony With All Others”
“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” Paul (Romans 12:16)
As I stated last week, in one way or another all the “one anothers” point to love and loving one another. That’s why Jesus could sum up all the law and the prophets with the two greatest commands and in fulfilling the second command The Holy Spirit guided men to write all the “one anothers.” Remember we can only fulfill the second greatest command as we first fulfill the greatest command of loving and worshiping God.
With this in mind our next “one another” is found just a little further on in Romans 12 where we find in v. 16 that we are to “Live in harmony with one another…”
What we so often do with this and similar “one anothers” is respond, not so much in word as in deed, by living in harmony with those who choose to live in harmony with us. God’s command is for us to do so even with those who may not be so harmonious and especially with those who may be from a different socioeconomic position.
Oswald Chambers states it this way, “God continually introduces us to people in whom we have no interest, and unless we are worshiping God (there’s that 1st and Greatest command again) the natural tendency is to be heartless toward them.” (https://utmost.org/helpful-or-heartless-toward-others/).
Our role as Christ followers is to be the ones that live in harmony as much as we possibly can (without compromising His Truth and even as we stand in His Truth it is in grace and without condemnation as we can always trust and leave that to Him). Paul explains this a little further in v. 18 when he instructs that “as much as it is possible with us we are to live at peace with ALL people.” (Caps mine and added for emphasis)
God places some pretty “prickly” people in our lives and our job in showing them Christ is to love them, and in the case of today’s “one another” to live in harmony and be at peace with every other person as much as we possibly can to show them His Love.
How are you doing when it comes to loving others by being harmonious and peaceful with them? Your spouse? Children? Friends? Church family? Coworkers? Enemies? What upsets your harmony and peace?
Our next “one another” comes back full circle as Paul is wrapping up his letter to the Romans under the inspiration of The Holy Spirit. He has commanded (remember, not demanded but commanded those who will obediently follow through in love) believers to be devoted to, honor, live in harmony with and be at peace with…one another.
So in Romans 13:8-10 he echoes what John shared in his Gospel that we are to “love one another.” However, in this text Paul has moved from personal discipline and maturity, even beyond relational and communal love (all of which certainly still apply) and he is talking about honoring all authorities (even in the midst of the pagan, polytheistic Roman government and religion).
He tells us that in our honoring of the authorities, which God Himself has ordained and established, that the best and only way to fulfill the law and honor all authority is by owing nothing to anyone except that…we love one another.
As the early Christians followed these commands they turned the world upside down. That same Love of God in and through Christ’s followers today can and will accomplish the same thing in a world whose love has grown and is growing increasingly cold (Matthew 24:12). We are the ones, as Christ followers, who alone can show a hardened world the real Love of God!
So let’s continue to grow in our love for God and allow His Love in and through us to impact this world and culture to know Christ.
Our final “One Another” for this week’s L&L LIVE is one that we all need to hear and, if we’re honest with ourselves, one that is not so easily adhered to in our lives and relationships. Yet, we must remember that every “One Another” is rooted in and part of the deeper commandment to “love one another.” Whenever we are failing to be obedient to any of these “one another” commands we are falling short in our love for God and others…thank God for His grace and mercy.
As Paul closes his letter to the church at Rome, he gives us some of the most difficult and yet powerful “one anothers” beginning in Romans 14:13 where he instructs us, by the leading of The Holy Spirit, to …Stop passing judgment on one another.” OUCH! But they deserve it! That’s exactly the point…apart from Christ we all deserve nothing but judgment. Thanks be to God that because of Christ, His “mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13)
This does not mean that there is, nor will be, no judgment, but simply that those who truly believe in Christ have already received, by His great mercy, our judgment that Christ took for us. Only those who don’t know Christ after all they’ve been shown and given and rejected His mercy will receive judgment.
For us as believers though, the first thing we must acknowledge in this command is that The Holy Spirit is telling us to stop doing something that we are doing to others…OUCH! He goes on in that same command in v. 13 and expands by telling us to stop putting obstacles or stumbling blocks in the path of others. That’s a strong indictment as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 8:9 that we must be very careful not to use the freedom that we’ve been given in Christ to lay burdens on others…essentially don’t put stumbling blocks in their path to freedom and growth in Christ.
This is what standing in judgment of others does to us, making us appear “holier than thou” in our attitude and turning them away from Christ rather than toward Him.
In order to truly love one another we must stop judging each other. There is a time to point out sin but it is in grace, truth and love, and only after I have confessed, dealt with and laid my own sin before God, leaving the ultimate judgment to Christ (Matthew 7:1-5).
Forgiveness, not judgment, if what we need to love one another.
Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – Whatever you do, take time to watch this video (linked at loveandlordship.com) and share it with those you know need it and/or those that you’ve been judging or begrudging…it’s not worth it! Forgive and love like Jesus…”A Heart That Forgives” by Kevin LeVar… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=indCvnD4Ji4
Love and Lordship…Action Item(s)
- Spend time with Him in His Word and prayer daily – read and study the Scriptures in this post as a way to start
- Ask The Holy Spirit to teach you
- Find someone you may not normally associate with and start a conversation to learn more about them and share who you are in Christ with them
- Find someone you are holding a grudge against and ask The Spirit to show you how to forgive them…then ask them for forgiveness for your unforgiving spirit toward them