‘Live in harmony with one another’
Words spoken every Sunday –
part of a blessing as we leave, but not always heard or taken to heart.
Today I hear those words loud and clear, as though spoken with a megaphone. These words meant to bless and encourage, this morning they convict.
The last 48-hours have been far from harmonious for me.
A trip to Chicago with my husband and youngest son brought out my Mrs. Hyde. Who is this crazy, uninvited woman in the car with us who lashes with the tongue, cuts with ugly words, who absorbs the stress of traffic, running late, and wrong turns, and spits out arrows of blame and accusations only to fuel an exchange of heated words and hurt feelings?
Far from my finest moment.
Far from a life of grace.
And that’s only one example that I’m brave enough to share with you.
Then these gentle words spoken directly to me as I sit in the pew, God speaking right in my ear, a holy arrow bypassing my conscience and going straight to my heart:
‘Live in harmony’.
What exactly does that mean – to live in harmony? Is it all of us standing in a circle, holding hands and singing “Kum-ba-Yah” or “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” with coke in hand? Of course not. Rather a harmonious life is one filled with peace instead of drama, patience instead of quick tempers, understanding instead of assumptions, and forgiveness instead of grudges.
We are all far from living a life like that.
As I dwell on this more, I think about what harmony means in music – this combination of simultaneously sounded notes that produces a pleasing effect. Translation – living lives that support and compliment each other. When someone in my life has the melody – melancholy or joyful – I must willingly step back to be supporting harmony, and hopefully vice versa. Sometimes I need to put my own wants, needs, and opinions aside to make way for someone else’s. And a lesson well-learned on the road to Chicago – sometimes the best harmony is the one unheard – when the tongue is kept silent so the ears can hear the melody of others. Saint Paul says:
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
Could humility be essential to living in harmony? Putting others first. Sacrificing self. Counting others more significant than self. Humility. Yes, I see it’s importance, but it’s not so easy for the ‘me first-ers’, ‘I know best-ers’, and ‘it’s not my fault-ers’. Somehow being humble has a negative connotation, but perhaps humility is misunderstood.
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” C.S Lewis
Love is the other key ingredient. Letting love lead and fuel conversations, rather than anger and self-righteous thoughts. Remembering that I am loved by a God who is patient, understanding, and offers forgiveness and peace, should spur me on to show the same for those in my life.
Daily I fail like on that road trip. The tongue often speaks before the mind can tell it not to. Apologies and forgiveness are part of the music woven in a life, and the weekly encouragement to live harmoniously becomes a necessary reminder. There is blessing in humility, whether we have the melody or the harmony of a moment. In God’s eyes, being humble and letting love lead our actions and reactions, it’s all sweet melody.