Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you
live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ
Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one
voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:4 - 6 (NLT)
The idea of “harmony” is that many voices together sound like one pleasing voice. Some of the synonyms the dictionary gives for the word are “accord” “agreement” and “synchronization”.
Paul’s charge to the Roman church folk was to remember Jesus did that for us, opening the door of fellowship for Gentiles, so we could come to know God and his gracious salvation.
The idea of many voices lifting “one voice” (truly synchronized, in agreement) literally means to be many minds, agreed; to be of one passion. It means being committed to the same set of values, ideas, goals.
With all due respect to my musical friends – this is harder in life than music!
We live in a world where it’s much easier to talk about being homogenous – a one-human-race world – than to achieve it. These days there are enough “voices” to go around…but not much harmony when the voices are raised.
Especially if you add the Bible to the mix.
Paul wrote that God’s intention for the written Scriptures was to help encourage the human race to patiently achieve harmony. In this we give “harmonious praise” back to God; we can be truly the crown in His creation.
But, largely, we (the human race) have taken the Scriptures, personalized the message to meet our “felt needs” and dared anyone to contradict us with their version. It’s usually called “my way or the highway”. And it’s not harmony; it’s a racket! This kind of unholy noise is generally well-saturated with cultural prejudice and skewed interpretations which ignore the totality of the counsel of God.
In other words – don’t confuse me with facts; I know what I know.
That “thud” you just heard was the door of an un-synchronized, non-agreeing, accord-refusing mind slamming shut.
Don’t misread me here; I am not one to “give the farm away”, agreeing with something I don’t believe, just to be in agreement. I used to be like that – a people-pleaser, going-along, agreeing just for the sake of making “nice-nice”. That’s as bad as slugging-it-out over minute non-essentials just to be ornery.
What I am saying is we need to stop pre-judging everyone until we hear what they’re saying. Listen with an open mind; answer with a gentle heart; guard the door against thieves.
Do this in regards to doctrine, custom, culture, money and family – and you will be a reasonable person.
Hate people because of their thoughts, place of birth, skin pigment, social status or limitations of all sorts – and you will be a person who adds to the division the Lord came to end.
And who wants to fight THAT battle?
Title Picture: By Randy Stern [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons