“The whole world—with one minor exception—is made up of others,” says John Maxwell. The ‘one minor exception’ is that person who’s looking back at you from the mirror every morning, so if you want to be successful in life, you better learn to get along with ‘the others.’
I believe this is especially important for those who call themselves Christians. Here are three reasons why—
- Our interaction with other Christians is a testimony to outsiders—John 13:34-35.
- Our positive interaction with outsiders can draw others to Christ—Colossians 4:5.
- Our negative interaction with outsiders can repel others from Christ—1 Peter 2:12.
So although it can be very (sometimes very, very!) challenging, we are called to find ways to get along with others. The Apostle Paul said:
Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:17-18, emphasis added).
When you see the phrase “if it is possible” you may think that Paul has given us an “out.” We could say, “I tried really hard to get along with that guy, but it just hasn’t worked, so I’m off the hook!”
But consider how another translation of the Bible states this phrase: Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Jesus was asked to do something that had never been done before: heal two men born blind. Jesus asked these men, “Do you believe I am able to do this?” (Matthew 9:28). The men answered an emphatic, “Yes!” On another occasion a father asked Jesus to heal his son by saying, “If You can, please help us.” Jesus said, “‘If I can? All things are possible to those who believe.” The father immediately replied, “I do believe; please help my unbelief” (Mark 9:22-24).
If you are Christian, the Spirit of Jesus lives in you. So the question Jesus asks us about our difficult relationships is, “Do you believe I am able to help you?” Or perhaps more accurately He asks us, “Will you let Me help you?”
So the part of the verse which says, “if it is possible, as far at it depends on you” is really saying, “If you really believe Jesus is stronger than this strained relationship, will you let Him do something in you to bring about peace?”
We aren’t asking Jesus to change the other person; we’re asking Him to change us. We aren’t asking someone else to get on our page, or to see the world from our perspective; we’re asking the Holy Spirit to help us get on their page, to help us see the world they way they see it.
We need to have a new attitude. And I believe that attitude comes from a prayer like this—
I have been empowered by the Spirit of Christ in me.
It is now possible for me to live at peace with everyone.
I can let the Holy Spirit use to me make a beautiful harmony.
I will keep on living like this every day.
Next Sunday we will be looking at some practical techniques and more biblical insights to help us excel in getting along with all ‘the others’ that make up the world. Please join us in person or on Periscope.