Thursday, May 19, 2011

Getting along with each other------------ That's some seriously hard work

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. 
- James 3:17-18

The hard work of getting along with each other...
Interesting turn of phrase...
I remember hearing my mama say, "You guys have got to learn to get along," a lot as my brother, sister and I were growing up... Since we tended to scrape and squabble we tended to hear her repeat this statement a lot.
And now I hear myself say it to my children. alongside this great one liner: "Can't you all just get along for five minutes?!"
Getting along with each other is hard work. Now that I am older I still find this to be true. On one of my evaluations backintheday when I was a youth pastor was written the following: Relates well with those who relate well to her.
Translation: I get along with those who like to get along with me.
Don't we all?
And yet aren't we called to be different? Act different?
I remember being stung by that comment and wanting to defend myself.
Instead, as I found myself pondering on it, I found a good deal of truth in it... I needed to teach myself, push myself to keep reaching out to the kids that didn't connect right away with me and while I was working on that I decided to stretch myself to connect with adults...
I still don't relate well with everyone... and there are people in this life that don't seem to care for me very much [gasp!] and it is best to expose them to only the smallest doses of me...
However- I can work to treat everyone I meet with dignity and honor.
Only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other,
treating each other with dignity and honor...
I watch my children and how they interact with their friends-- the patience, grace and mercy they generously bestow on them... and then I see them interact with each other at home- short, snappy... no grace, nada mercy... only thing in generous supply is frustration...
We need to work on treating each other with dignity and honor... and from what I can see in my own home... that's where it needs to start-- needs to be practiced... 
In My Own Home.
There are days when I don't respond well to my children... days when I don't want to do the hard work of getting along with them any more than they try it with me or each other... which could possibly be described as "hot one day, cold the next"???? Ouch!
Asking myself the hard questions here... How will they know if I don't teach them by my own example? Live it out in front of them day in and day out and hold them (and myself) accountable when we don't work at it, when we don't treat each other with dignity or with honor? When we're cold rather than hot?
I want to create a healthy, robust community right here in my own home... such a community that can't help but burst forth out these walls and stream into the community at large.
So the family sits down together for the meal and we discuss these verses and we chew on The Word... This Bread of Life. We look at each other... wheels turning, each of us thinking how we haven't worked at it and how we feel spurred on in this moment to work at it harder...
Each of us ready to push up our sleeves and do some hard work.


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