How to Get Along

Last Sunday night we looked at 1 Corinthians 8 and the trouble that the church in Corinth had coming to an agreement on an issue where there were differing opinions: whether or not it was alright to eat meat that had been offered to idols. People on both sides of the argument were confident that they were right, and those with a differing view were wrong.
The core issue is the need for Christians coming from different backgrounds to get along. Although our issues are different, our struggle can be the same. We want people to see things the way we see them. We have a hard time listening because we are too busy trying to convince. Romans 14 addresses the same kind of conflicts and offers the key to the solution in verse 19: “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” Make every effort. We are not to make a half-hearted effort. We are not to make every effort to destroy the brother or sister we disagree with. We are to make every effort to make peace, to improve and to seek unity in agreement with God.
In his book, How to Be a Christian Without Being Religious, Fritz Ridenour describes three ways to put this into action.
Be genuine. In other words, be honest and open with other people. Appropriateness and sensitivity are vital.
Be acceptant. Respect and like people for who they are rather than trying to make them over to suit your values.
Be understanding. Have empathy by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Doing these things can lead us to the kind of mutual respect that a good family needs.
I would add a fourth action that can help. Be forgiving. Anytime there is strong disagreement, there is the potential for broken relationships and grudges. As followers of Jesus, we cannot be content with that. Tonight we will talk more about the importance of forgiveness and its role in helping us get along.

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