How Good and Pleasant it is when God’s People Live Together in Unity.
Our four year old daughter stormed through the front door, flung herself on the sofa and with a Scarlet Ohara flair declared, “I just don’t understand why we all can’t get along.” As I wrapped her in my arms, her initial frustration turned to sobbing. As crocodile tears streamed down her face, she continued, “Why can’t we play nice? I want to get along with everyone, but they’re all fighting. Can’t you make them stop, Mommy?”
And there you have it. The desire for unity summed up with naive simplicity by a pure hearted little girl that just wants everyone to get along.
As I held her and spoke comforting words over her, I could feel her spirit settle. That’s when the real work began. We talked about deeply rooted sin, her sin and my sin, and how getting along starts with our need to repent first and repent often. She began to defend, “That’s not fair. I didn’t do any…” Nope, I cut her off right there. “To love others through tough times, we must put on love like Jesus did and that’s really hard to do. We must begin with ourselves.” I reminded her.
A few minutes later, the door bell rang. It was the “fighters” wanting to play again. I walked them through simple steps of reconcilation. (As parents, we must start that modeling young.) With hugs dolled out, apologies given, and forgiveness received, I witnessed a new found gratitude of grace found in second chances, mixed with anticipation of new beginnings.
Arms linked together, they ran out the door with joyful giggles filling my front yard. What a change from moments earlier. Why can’t it be that simple? We have a lot to learn from children.
Today we’re granted a Do-Over: a fresh start, a new morning filled with unknown possibilities. How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live in unity. I desire that, but rarely is it restored with a front yard apology. It’s realigning our priorities and elevating others.
It means bravely showing up for the everyday, even in those hard, moments when we don’t want to welcome others, when we’d rather retreat, yet we push forward anyhow. When things seem unfair, we wave to others alongside us and assure them they’re invited. “Come join us.”
Unity begins when we create more than just warm, welcoming spaces, but safe ones. Communities where we can lay our whole-hearted self down without condemnation, places where sisters can experience Jesus more fully.
Unity begins when we join hearts with God’s people and press in together with the ultimate desire of lifting the name of Jesus higher than our own agendas. When we link arms with our sisters of every color, nationality, occupation, and background, unity stirs our hearts as we resist any temptation to tear down those sisters with whom we differ. To find community through our similarities and choose peace instead of prejudice.
Unity begins when we put on Jesus’ unconditional love and learn to make room for one more because He first made room for one more.
Unity begins when we acknowledge our differences, repent of our sins, show grace amidst discord, and give the benefit of the doubt as we listen with open hearts to others’ stories.
Our new start begins today. I want to do the hard work of bringing it all to the table where His mercy is poured out in abundance.
I’m turning my apathy into action. Won’t you join me?
(Sharing over at (in)courage: find yourself among friends.)
Divided we fall, holding firm to our agenda. Very rarely do we admit fault and simply listen to people who look different. Thank you for this reminder. A reminder that I’ve adopted God’s s agenda for my life.Today that means simply listen, calmly and with Love.
It’s so hard, isn’t it? I want to push what ever my cause is for the day ahead and slowly, I’m learning to step back and really try to listen. Not just let anyone say whatever they want, but listen first before talk, talk, talking 🙂
I really enjoyed this article. It reminds us to listen first and share ourselves with others. I enjoy being with my sisters in Christ, and as I go every day at my job, and at the grocery store, I discover that we have more in common with each other than differences.
So very true, Jackie. Thanks for your comment. 🙂