If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:18 (ESV)
I love refrigerator magnets. My fridge is covered with them. Some are photos reminding us of vacations and mission trips. Others have scriptures imprinted on them. Some hold pictures of my family members, birthday/wedding invitations, prayer cards of missionaries on the foreign field. Maybe your fridge door is also a display of your life.
But the best magnet I saw was on the fridge in a pastor’s home where I spent a summer interning at the church daycare. It said, “God Loves You and I’m Trying.”
If you’re like me, you have encountered people you simply don’t like. Can I admit that as a Christian? Mostly, it’s a personality clash. And I’m sure I’ve been the one who is unliked at times. It can be really difficult when that person is a regular part of our daily life. I had one such situation.
I was a freshman in Bible College—yes Bible College! My roommate and I were as different as night and day. Our only common denominator was our relationship with Jesus.
It wasn’t so much that we disliked each other. We just didn’t “jell.” I was a bookworm. She was a social butterfly. I was brunette and kind of plain. She was a blonde and every guy wanted to date her.
Then flu season hit. I was spared, but she came down with a terrible case. She was unable to leave the room to go class and to the cafeteria for meals.
The Lord began to nudge me to get her meals. I am not heartless, but at first it wasn’t easy. But I obeyed. As I served her, the wall between us came down. We actually found areas of commonality. It was so nice to have a room of peace and not constant tension. She became more of a bookworm. And I learned some tips to make myself more attractive.
Our key verse puts some responsibility on us. We are not going to automatically get along with someone just because they are a Christian. We may have to put some effort into it. Even the disciples didn't always agree. Paul and Barnabas had a falling out as well. Their situation became an "agree to disagree" situation (Acts 16:36-41). What a great example to show us that there may be times when we have to agree to disagree with a brother or sister in Christ.
Psalm 133 has only three verses. Yet, those verses describe the beauty of unity among believers. This passage begins with the words, "Behold, how good..." Remember, as God was creating the world, the words "it was good" was repeated several times. So, dwelling in unity pleases our Father.
Is there someone you are “trying” to love? Then I challenge you today to find a way to serve them. God will break down that wall. And who knows? You may just become best friends.
Father, You place people in our lives that may take some extra effort to love. Help us to reach out to those and see them as You do. Show us ways that we can serve them. Help us look beyond our differences and love them regardless. In Jesus’ name, Amen.