Unity in Diversity

October 20, 2014

Unity in Diversity

Romans 12:16
[Be] of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Why is it we struggle so much with our human relationships with other people? Wouldn’t it be so much easier if everyone thought just like us, even if they could just see that the way that we think is the best way to do things? Unfortunately and maybe fortunately, we are quite diverse in how we solve our problems and deal with the issues of life. While that is not so much a problem if we are dealing with just us, it becomes quite a challenge when we are in relationships where we need to be in one accord concerning decisions and policies of how we want to do things. We all have different ideas of how something should be. Often it is not a question of one being right and one being wrong, except perhaps in their own eyes, it is more a matter of being in one accord and reaching a common ground where we can share and come into agreement though we differ in opinion and logic. This is the crux of life, whether it is in business and working relationships, marriage, family, the body of Christ, no matter what the relations, it is often a challenge to come into one mind. How do we find unity in the diversity of our personalities and ways of thinking and viewing things? Well, obviously the world has come up with many ways of dealing with these issues, monarchies, dictatorships, socialism, totalitarianism, democracies and even theocracy.
Perhaps you are struggling in a relationship today. In secular relationships we seek to have the mind of Christ and as Romans 12:18 puts it, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” What about our Christian relationships, our marriages and our families, these areas that we all struggle with daily? Unfortunately we don’t have a much better record at these relationships than the world does, but we should because we have what they don’t have, Christ. If we have committed ourselves to live our lives under the theocracy of God’s will then what our efforts should be focused on is not what my will or my way is or what yours is, but what is the mind of God concerning our decisions. Do we come to the bargaining table with different agendas and different priorities? How do we arrive at peaceable solutions? First, are all parties willing to lay down their rights, agendas and opinions to submit to what God’s will is in a particular area of dissension? Are we willing to approach our differences with respect for one another and our differences of opinion, realizing that we are all made up of strengths and weaknesses? Are we willing to give place to someone else’s gifting or strength in an area? Are we willing to lay these differences at the altar and unselfishly pursue the Lord’s will through praying together and seeking the mind of the Lord? That’s probably not normally our way, but it should be. Are we all honest in our dealings and can we bring our feelings under submission to the Lord? We often want to resolve our differences emotionally which usually only further polarizes us rather than unifying us. Are we willing to come with unselfishness in our hearts and pursue the end that best meets the needs of all concerned? Our God is a God of Peace and He wants us to pursue peaceable means through His love that is within us by being longsuffering, courteous, respectful and giving place to one another.
It comes back to “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (Philippians 2:5).” He became a servant though He was Lord of all and laid down His life for us. We need this mind to be the servant of one another working, living and giving what is best for the benefit of others and not just ourselves. When we get ourselves out of the picture then resolution to our conflicts and differences becomes much easier. Love is about our desire to give and not just to get. The more this love is working in the hearts of all concerned the easier our differences will be resolved and we will find unity in our diversity.
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.
Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (Philippians 2:13-16).”

Blessings,
#kent

The Golden Rule

August 31, 2012

Matthew 7:12
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

The Golden Rule


One of the most detrimental, selfish and skewed ways for us to live as human beings is to only see life from our point of view and only how it benefits us.  A young toddler or child is normally this way.  That is all that they know.  They know what they want and they do whatever works to get it.  Maturity and correction should teach them that life is not all about “me”.  Unfortunately for many of us as adults we still hold on a lot to this mentality.
There is an old saying that you need to walk a mile in someone else’s moccasins to understand where they are coming from.  I believe that goes hand in hand with what the Lord is teaching us here.  We may not be able to fully experience what somebody else is experiencing, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to have empathy and sympathy in an effort to understand and imagine if we were in their situation.  When we are willing to weigh the needs, concerns and care we have for others in the same way that we do for ourselves, then we are beginning to move in a direction of loving our neighbor as ourselves.  When we are actively asking ourselves as we deal with others in business and personally, how would I want this person or business to treat me in this situation?  Am I being fair and reasonable or am I only focused on getting my way?  Human relationships can be complex and difficult at times.  We certainly can’t control how another treats us, but we can make the decision of how we respond or choose to treat another.  The Lord is teaching us throughout the New Testament to be proactive in our choices of how we respond and treat others.
In Matthew 5:38-48 Jesus teaches, “”You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’  39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. 43″You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  What Jesus is telling us to do here goes against the grain of our natural reasoning and response, but He is telling us to have a love that exceeds that of the world.  There are many good people in the world doing good things, but if we just love those who love us then what is that more than the rest of the world is doing?  Christ’s love is that of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails…”
The golden rule is such a powerful principle that if we all lived by it we would all have one another’s interest at heart and not just our own.  While we are blessing someone else, some else is blessing us.  We are watching one another’s backs and having the same care and concern for others as we have for ourselves.  It is a simple principle, but one we soon forget, neglect or fail to practice.  It is hard for us to excel and get ahead using this principle, but then that should tell us something about that mentality in the light of God’s purpose and plan for us.  God tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.  Like we have said before, the greatest principle we can learn from life is that true fulfilling life is not that found in the getting, but in the giving.      Let us remember and practice this simple principle, because upon it hangs the sum of the Law and the Prophets.

Blessings,
kent

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