Mark Twain once said, “I built a cage and in it I put a dog and a cat. After a little training I got the dog and the cat to the point where they lived peaceably together. Then I introduced a pig, a goat, a kangaroo, some birds, and a monkey. And after a few adjustments, they learned to live in harmony together. So encouraged was I by such successes that I added an Irish Catholic, a Presbyterian, a Jew, a Muslim from Turkestan, and a Buddhist from China, along with a Baptist missionary that I captured on the same trip. And in a very short time, there wasn’t a single living thing left in the cage.”
It seems that living in harmony has become wishful thinking in many areas of life. One political group attacks another with any thought of compromise. Social media profiting on conflict rather than communication. The media skewing their coverage to match their agenda rather than dealing with all the facts. Tension sells.
Our fall into sin has created powder kegs of controversy in society with each hoping to gain the upper hand. Godliness has been replaced with selfish ambition and we struggle to find harmony even within our own families.
This was never in God’s original plan. We were created to live in harmony with one another, each person focused on serving the other. Romans 12:14-18 reminds us of this when it says, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
Take a moment and imagine what life would be like if we all lived this way. I dare say harmony would be the rule. Haughtiness would be eradicated, and persecution would end. This is what we have to look forward to when we pass from this life into the next.
As Christians we are called to live in harmony, even in a world that seems to have lost any sense of it. In his first letter, Peter reflects on the lessons that Christ had taught him when he advised his readers saying, “Finally, all of you, have unity in mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind” (1 Peter 3:8). Our calling is to be people of harmony as examples of Christ’s love in a world that so desperately needs Him.
The call to harmony is further emphasized in Romans 14:19, “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” It seems like common sense, yet so much of the world focuses on the opposite. The people influenced by the world instead focus on power and intimidation to bring about peace, and even though these tactics have never done so, their selfish nature tries again and again to make them work.
God asks us, as His children, to be different than the world. He says in Colossians 3:12-13, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
Sometimes this is difficult, especially in times of persecution, but even in these times, God expects us to imitate Him in all our actions. We are to be the ones to show the world a better way to live. We are to be modals of harmony both within our churches and within the world.
Little by little our show of harmony will have its positive affects but for that to happen we must remain consistent. If we can modal the kind of harmony that God first created, others will be drawn to its power as they see the positive affects it has on society.
Because, you see, this is what the world strives for, even if it tries to find it in all the wrong places. We all would rather live in harmony. But first, selfishness has to be replaced with service both to God and to each other. Are you willing to be a part of the solution? Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, show us the way to harmony and help us to be examples of your love to a world in desperate need. Amen.