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As she accepts her 2008 TED Prize, author and scholar Karen Armstrong talks about how the Abrahamic religions -- Islam, Judaism, Christianity -- have been diverted from the moral purpose they share to foster compassion. But Armstrong has seen a yearning to change this fact. People want to be religious, she says; we should act to help make religion a force for harmony. She asks the TED community to help her build a Charter for Compassion
-- to help restore the Golden Rule as the central global religious doctrine.
Just Getting Along?
by Jon Walker
“Now, dear brothers and sisters, I appeal to you by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ to stop arguing among yourselves. Let there be real harmony so there won't be divisions in the church. I plead with you to be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.”
1 Corinthians 1:10 (NLT)
The Bible doesn’t tell us to just get along with other believers. Even the worst of enemies can bury their differences for a short time and be cordial toward one another for a mutual goal or benefit.
But God calls us to a higher standard: “Make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose.”
Philippians 2:2 (NLT)
Our testimonies are validated by how we get along with other believers – that is, how we get along with each other in our congregations, our small groups, our choir rehearsals, our deacon/elder meetings, even our families. Jesus said, “This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples — when they see the love you have for each other.”
John 13:35 (MSG)
Yet, love doesn’t look very lovable when it’s accompanied by arguments and disputes and constant fighting. This is perhaps the hardest aspect of genuine Christian fellowship – because conflicts arise every time people are thrown together. Even a man and a woman who vow to love one another until separated by death can’t always see eye-to-eye. It’s understandable, then, when a group of people who have nothing in common but Jesus find it difficult to agree with one another all the time.
Our ability to get along with other believers simply won’t come from our human efforts, no matter how well intentioned, and it won’t come from continual compromises. Here’s the reason why – the church is a body!
The Bible calls the church a body of believers, but the funny thing about this body is every organ has a mind of its own. Yet, the human body is ruled by a single mind.
And so is the church, where the single mind that rules is Jesus, who is the Head of the church.
As with the human body, the desires of each individual organ, in the final analysis, don’t matter. It is only the desires of Jesus that count.
What does this mean?
· Listen to your Head – If the left leg wants to walk and the right leg wants to run, it’s the head that decides what they will do. In the body of Christ, Jesus is the Head. Take your conflicts and disagreements to Jesus – and then do what he tells you to do, even if you don’t agree.
· Agree on this one thing – We may have differing opinions, but on this one thing we must all agree: the only opinion that matters is the Lord’s. The cure for arguments and disputes that have infected the body is for all the parts – each of us – to submit to the will of Jesus Christ. (James 4:7)
· Question to consider – Has God brought to mind someone with whom you need to work out some differences? Instead of trying to make the other person agree with you, tell God that you will agree with him. If God so leads, tell those on the other side of a conflict or dispute that you are willing to submit to the will of Jesus and encourage them to do the same.
© 2008 Purpose Driven Life.
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Pastor Jon Walker is a writer for