Last week I read about a couple of church ladies who couldn’t get along. I can just see them, noses in the air, chins thrust out, arms folded. Not budging. Nuh-uh. When you’re right, you’re right, right?
Haha, church ladies squabbling. Sounds familiar–and sort of comical–doesn’t it? You’ve probably seen something like this yourself. The fight could have flared up yesterday, but the story I read wasn’t in the newspaper or the comics. This dust-up happened in about 61 AD in Philippi, a city that would be somewhere around Bulgaria if it still existed. The apostle Paul addressed both ladies in the New Testament book of Philippians, chapter 4, the first few verses.
I mean, think about it: right in the middle of his letter to their whole church, Paul called two individuals out by name and asked their pastor to encourage them to get over it. That letter is in the Bible, folks. Now, Paul didn’t say what they argued about, but still. Millions of people over the last nineteen-plus centuries have read about these two women, and we all know they quarreled.
But I love how Paul phrased his instructions. Did he expect them to agree about everything? Hardly! Did he take sides? Nope. He acknowledged both women as his fellow workers in the cause of the faith they all shared. His advice to them was simply “to live in harmony in the Lord.”
The word “harmony” got my attention. As a music lover, I know a few things about harmony. Mainly, that the word refers to different notes that sound good together. If everyone is singing or playing the same note, that’s “unison.” Unison is fine, but you can’t call it harmony. And unison can get a little boring.
I’ve seen a few church lady arguments (and church guy arguments) myself. They often arise when someone thinks their role, or their opinion, or their pet priority, is the only one that matters. And then they diss someone else’s. Ouch!
Two people can hold different opinions, and both can be right. Every job, every voice, is important. We all need each other. As near as I can figure, the purpose we have in common trumps our differences.
Remember, if it weren’t for differences, there could be no harmony.
Your turn: What is your take on “living in harmony?” Have you ever set aside your preferences (or at least put down your dukes) for the sake of resolving differences? No names, please!
I look forward to your comments.
Thanks for reading,