Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
September 27, 2015
Friction or harmony – it’s a choice
I was surprised. It was a pleasant surprise. One day I realized that our congregation was delighted that their pastors and the church staff loved and enjoyed each other.
We had our differences but we worked through them. We valued the idea of working as a team. We had a choice: friction or harmony. We chose harmony. It was not always an easy task. We had to work at it. Sometimes we had to struggle through heated disagreements until we reached a consensus.
People are different. That is no accident. God made us this way. He gave us different gifts. We think differently on many issues. Conflicts happen. But, bless Pete, if we want to, we can find ways to work together in harmony.
Diversity within a group is always challenging. It can be blessing or burden. We have a choice. We can fuss and fight or we can put our differences aside and work in one accord. We can unite in mutual respect or we can divide in friction. We can work as one or we can work against one another.
Strife, discord and division will weaken and destroy a family, an organization and certainly a church. Jealousy or discord inhibit effectiveness. Harmony produces growth; discord destroys. Constant friction sucks the life out of any group of people trying to work as a team. Conflict is sand in the machinery of human relationships.
An unhealthy desire to receive “credit” or praise can result in disunity. Wise leaders enjoy helping others receive recognition for the use of their gifts. Such a spirit is contagious. It frees people to celebrate their differences rather than struggle with one another for control of everything.
If we look to the Bible for help, we find that the Apostle Paul was smart; he was not a “control freak.” He never reminded people that he was “the Boss.” He did not claim to be “always right” or insist on having “his way” about everything. Instead he spoke of being surrendered entirely to Christ. He describes himself as a slave or servant of Christ.
We can learn a lot by studying Paul’s concept of service. For Paul Christ was in charge. He was the Head of the church. He was the Lord whom Paul served. The church is Christ’s Body and Christians are parts of his body, “joined and knit together” to use their separate gifts to promote the growth of his body.
When foolish pride causes people to fight like children in the church, the Body suffers. By competing with one another we become vulnerable to jealousy and resentment, attitudes that erode unity and create discord. Read the Beatitudes of Jesus and you do not find one that says, “Blessed are the prima donnas who think they are better than everyone else.” You do find one that says, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” No group can survive disagreement without forgiveness and peacemaking.
Encouragement opens the doorway to harmony. And it builds up the body of Christ. Anyone trying to serve God will face resistance and rejection from others. But kind words of encouragement can rejuvenate the spirit and get people back on track. A pat on the back or a “well done” can bring healing into relationships and inspire frustrated teammates to return to the front line of service.
The more we mature, the more we realize we need others to become a winning team. The more we graciously admit our need of others, the greater the chance for harmony and the greater our joy.
The choice is really a “no brainer.” Friction will kill you. Harmony will bless your socks off. So harmony is worth the effort to find it. Always. + + +