I Was Thinking…
“Why can’t we all just get along with one another?” I love the way the letter of James in the New Testament puts it, “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. 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”. (3:17-18, The Message, P.483)
It is hard work to get along, but it is a labor worth the struggle. Why is it so hard? It is hard because it is a battle bigger than us. Some scholars suggest that the word devil, ‘diablos’ can be taken to mean ‘divider’. This suggests that there is a force larger than us that pulls us away from ‘getting along’. If we could just understand this, then we would discover that our common enemy is not each other. It is not those who think differently than we think. It is not those who look differently than we do. It is not those who worship differently than we do. It is not those who live in different parts of the world than we do. All of this is an attempt by diablos to orchestrate the demise of the world, which begins and includes the demise of each other.
Do we think that God desires for us to get along with each other? Of course, that is God’s deepest desire. Then who is it that wants us to NOT get along with each other? It is diablos…the divider.
What the writer James said to those believers long ago bears repeating today, “Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill for it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it. You wouldn’t think of asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to. You’re spoiled children, each wanting your own way.” (4:1-3, The Message, P. 483)
Then James speaks of the hard work and what it takes to ‘get along with one another’, “So let God work God’s will in you. Yell a loud ‘no’ to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet ‘yes’ to God and God will be there in no time…Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.” (4:7-8a, Pp. 483-434)
Getting along with others is hard work. But it is worth every drop of sweat and every ounce of effort. May 2020 be the year we are instruments of Peace on earth, good will to ALL humankind. May God’s will come to earth as it is in heaven.
P.S. Beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, I invite you to read Luke Chapter 2 for an entire week…Read it, re-read it, read it from different versions, read it quietly to yourself, read it aloud…listen for God’s word to you…to us.
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