We all know that one person: She can't get along with anyone.
If she doesn't like something you said she blasts you for it.
If you are going through something hard, she blows it off.
If you are happy about something, she has something better.
She's hard to get along with, and we all begin to avoid her. We definitely don't want to BE her! So, what happens when you meet someone like that, or find you are becoming that person?
We are going to look at Romans 12:14-16 to see what we can do when this happens.
These verses teach us that we can live in harmony with others by following 3 wise guidelines.
The first guideline is:
1. We should Bless others.
We find it in verse 14, which says, "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them." There's a couple of things I'd like to point out about this:
- Blessing is easy when others bless us. It's natural to want to do and say good to those who do and say good things to us.
- Blessing is hard when persecuted, but this verse is specifically talking about blessing those who persecute us! Perhaps the author was thinking of Stephen and Jesus Christ as examples for this. Even when they were being murdered, they forgave! Wow. It is hard to forgive small slights against us, but murder?!? They gave the ultimate blessing. They forgave.
So, not only should we bless others, but secondly,2. We should feel with others. Read verse 15 with me, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." This has two sides to it. We should...
- Rejoice with those who are celebrating
- This means we should Be truly happy , even if they have something you don't. Don't be jealous. Green doesn't look good on anyone!
- Don't try to one-up them. Stop thinking for once about what good things you have done, or have happened to you (in essence, think of others instead of yourself) and truly listen and rejoice that they have good things happening to them!
- Empathize with those who are suffering. People have big hurts, and sometimes hurts that may seem trivial to us. Don't blow off others' hurts. I know someone who, every time someone tells them about something they are going through says, "that's ok," and starts telling their own story. This not only dismisses the problem, but dismisses the person, and makes the hurt grow bigger. Don't do that. Instead, Put your arm around them, cry with them, and pray for and with them!
Last, we see that when we bless and feel with others, it will help us reach the third guideline which is to:
3. Be like minded with others.
Verse 16 states, "Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight."
When we live in harmony with others we won't be haughty, which means we won't be lofty or proud. And we will associate with the lowly. Have you ever been haughty and ignored someone who maybe didn't seem worth your time? Maybe it was the quiet, shy woman sitting by herself in the corner, or the girl who just came in with stringy hair, smelling like she needs a bath. I know I have, and it shames me to think of it, because we are all equal In God's eyes, and we are not more important than anyone else.
Verse 16 also says," never be wise in your own sight ". This means we shouldn't be conceited, or have a too-high opinion of ourselves and all we know. Value others and their opinions. Don't always think of ways you can seem better or you can win an argument. Nobody wins when you do, and it just hurts relationships. Ask God to help you be humble when you find your actions and thoughts are becoming proud and conceited."
Now, go back with me to that woman I mentioned in the beginning; the one no one wants to hang around. If you find yourself encountering someone like her or becoming her yourself in any way, just remind yourself of these three things. Ask God to help you bless others. Feel with them, and be like-minded with them. This will change you so that you can live in harmony with others.