(10 extra point to the first person to name the inspiration for the title of this post…)
Once again, our family met together last Saturday night with a few other brothers and sisters to share a meal and fellowship. We enjoyed getting to know them more, to hear about what was happening in their lives, and to simply spend time together as a family.
A few days ago in a post called “Imagine all the people…“, I mentioned that our family has been discussing what it means to live together as a family with people who are different from us. (As someone recently pointed out to me, it is sometimes more difficult to live with people who are very much like us!) We talked about this briefly, recognizing that we have been called to do something (live with and love people) which we cannot do on our own power. Thus, it is God “who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us”. (Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV)
Another brother mentioned that his family was reading the Gospel of John. He mentioned John 17, which includes the following passages:
And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. (John 17:11 ESV)
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:20-21 ESV)
Jesus prayed for his followers and the ones who come after them that they would be united. So, we talked about what kind of attitudes and motives we would need to be able to live in unity with those with whom we disagree.
We started talking about humility, then love, then patience. We soon realized that we were starting to list the fruit of the Spirit. Paul told the believers in Galatia that the Spirit would produce love, joy, peace, patience, kingdness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in their lives. All of these are necessary to live in unity with those who disagree with us.
We also talked about what attitudes and motives disrupt unity. We talked about pride, arrogance, hatred… These kinds of attitudes always cause problems.
I have to admit that I struggle with arrogance: that is, I usually come to a discussion thinking that I am right and the other person needs to change. However, this kind of attitude disrupts unity. Instead, I want to come to a discussion recognizing that the other person may be right. If I want someone to listen to me and to consider changing their views to match mine, then I must be willing to do the same thing.
Of course, this applies to blogs as well. I pray that I will be more willing to listen to others, and less anxious to jump in and prove my point.