By Pastor Mark Jordan
“Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.” (James 3:17-18, MSG)
Today’s passage is one that strikes me, and I think beckons us to reflect. The Bible teaches a lot about wisdom, and how it is the appropriate application of knowledge. So where James takes us next might seem a bit curious — a holy life characterized by getting along with others. And then he acknowledges that is hard work…wow, how true!
Have you ever encountered someone who has a bitter, critical spirit? The kind of person that seemingly causes the barometric pressure to change in a room when he or she enters? I have. That’s a hard place to be, because it squelches conversation and causes people to turn inward. Should we cast out such people? Heavens no! What we need to do is engage in the work to help all people know they have a role, even when it means someone must slow their roll.
As James wrote, working to get along with others can be hard work. Very hard for some. But is it worth it? Absolutely. And this is for the one who can be hardest to get along with primarily. You see, hurting people hurt people, as the old saying goes, and the knowledge that you belong can be the greatest gift given. But it takes treating everyone with dignity and honor. And my oh my, how hard is that? Getting along with others might just depend on you. Are you ready? Are you willing? Are you?
Prayer: Living and Loving, Lord, I thank you for loving me in spite of myself. I know there are times I shy away from those with a critical spirit, yet am convicted when I am that person. Help me to aim to get along with everyone, treating even the prickliest people with dignity and honor, for this is what I want for myself. I pray this in the holy name of Jesus. Amen.