Monday, May 3, 2010

“The Hard work of getting along”


James 3:17-18 Real wisdom, God's wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings,
not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. (18) You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.


Have you ever known anyone who claimed to be wise but who acted foolishly? True wisdom can be measured by a person's character. Just as you can identify a tree by the type of fruit it produces, you can evaluate your wisdom by the way you act. Foolishness leads to disorder, but wisdom leads to peace and goodness. Are you tempted to escalate the conflict, pass on the gossip, or fan the fire of discord? Careful, winsome speech and wise, loving words are the seeds of peace. God loves peacemakers (Matthew 5:9)


What a challenge today. We all should want more of God's wisdom, but we need to remember that it begins with a holy life and is seen when we get along with other people. We are wise when we are gentle, reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings on a consistent basis.

This kind of wisdom is hard work. It takes a lot of effort to get along with each other and to treat each person with dignity and honor.

So let me ask a question today: How are you handling the difficult people in your life? You say, "At a distance." You get no points with God for that. Peter says, "Above all [most important], love each other deeply" (1 Peter 4:8 NIV). Here's how that kind of love works:

1. It encourages others. Even the apostle Paul needed that. Listen, "God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus" (2 Corinthians 7:6). Imagine being remembered as "the man who encouraged the apostle Paul!" If Titus never did anything else, that made him a success. You see, when you encourage someone, you give them the self-worth and the motivation to reach for their potential. What a gift!

2. It trusts others. Listen, "If you love someone… you will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him" (1 Corinthians 13:7 TLB).

Don't judge others by their actions, while you judge yourself by your intentions. That's a double standard! Give them the benefit of the doubt and treat them the way you'd like to be treated.

3. It yields to others. "Agree with each other, and live in peace… then the God of love and peace will be with you" (2 Corinthians 13:11 NCV). Fighting produces bruised and resistant people, but yielding at the right time can deflate the argument and save the relationship.

In his book "Make a Life, Not a Living", Ron Johnson writes, "Of all the things on earth, what will last for eternity? People! So when you change a life, you're making an investment forever." Think about that!


"Lord, help me today to commit my words, my actions, my decisions, my life to you once again. Often, in fact most of the time, the easiest thing to do is to not like people, and find fault with them. I choose to work hard at getting along with everyone today. I will find the good in even my enemies. I will seek the good in the ones who I have a personality conflict with. I want to show mercy and grace. I know I need it! In Jesus' name, amen!"