Rodney King, the man whose videotaped arrest sparked the Los Angeles riot of the early 1990’s, made a statement about which many people have made fun. In the face of the melee he said, “Can’t we all just get along?”
Frankly, I say, “Good question, Rodney.” I see the difficulty, though, in carrying out that desire. The problem lies in the fact that if we sincerely wish to get along with each other, we are going to have to do some giving in. Somehow we’ve come to understand that “getting along” actually means “getting our way.” To justify why folks should do things the way we want them done, we’ll resort to using all kinds of ploys – pouting, anger, name-calling, the silent treatment – and self-righteous excuses like:
- I’ve done it this way for a long time and it’s always worked, or
- This way is so much quicker and easier, or
- I’m getting old and it’s hard to change my ways.
Once things are being carried out the way we like them and we are “getting our way,” we feel we are “getting along” with others. In actuality, we are not getting along at all. What we’re doing by forcing compliance is heaping resentment toward ourselves in the hearts of those saddled with dealing with us.
In God’s economy, getting along does not start with the other person doing things our way; it starts with our spirit of love to give in. We could turn things around in our relationships if we would get along with everyone as it is dictated we should in Romans 12:9-21. In fact, use this passage and fill in the names of the people in your life with whom you must deal. Say:
In the case of _______________, I will…
- Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
- Be kindly affectionate to _________with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to ___________;
- (I will be) not lagging in diligence (toward ___________), fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
- (I will be) rejoicing in hope (toward ___________), patient in tribulation (with _________), continuing steadfastly in prayer (for ___________);
- (I will) distribute to the needs of ___________, (and I will be) given to hospitality (with ____________).
- (I will) Bless __________ (if he/she) persecutes (me); bless and do not curse.
- (I will) Rejoice with ___________ (when he/she rejoices), and weep with _____________ (when he/she weeps).
- (I will strive to) Be of the same mind toward ____________. (I will) not set (my) mind on high things, but associate with the humble. (I will) not be wise in your own opinion.
- (I will not) Repay _________ evil for evil. (I will) Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
- If it is possible, as much as depends on (me), (I will) live peaceably with ______.
- (I will) not avenge (myself), but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
- Therefore “If ________ is hungry, (I will) feed him/her; if _______ is thirsty, (I will) give him/her a drink; for in so doing (I) will heap coals of fire on his head.”
- (I will) not be overcome by evil, but (I will) overcome evil with good.
We are to be living examples to the world of the love of God. The trick is that this starts with those closest to us. This is just another one of those paradoxes in God’s scheme of doing things: the way up is down, to be greatest become the servant, get along by giving in. After all, we couldn’t get along with God unless He had first given in to us. Consider First John 4:10, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (NIV).
©2009, 2013 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.
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Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children
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