I was reading about living in harmony with others today, and I found these little gems in Romans 12:6-8. This passage gives us some easy to follow instructions on ways to live in harmony with ourselves and with others.
Romans 12:6-8 MSG
"If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face."
'If you're supposed to preach God's Word, then preach it! Nothing else.' Don't make it up as you go along. Speak His Truth. Preach the Word of God. Be responsible for your words. They impact the listener.
'If you're supposed to help, then help. Don't take over.' Assist when and where it's needed. Learn to be okay with second fiddle. You don't have to be in charge. You can be part of the army without being a general. Become an asset.
'If you teach, stick to teaching.' You don't have to preach, or be in charge or ... just teach. We need teachers. Teach us the way we should go; so that we can go and do and be more.
'If you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy.' Oh man, there is some truth there. We can get too big for our britches and hurt someone instead of helping them see truth. Encourage with loving kindness. Be thoughtful.
'If you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate.' Easygoing leaders are so much better than taskmasters. Manipulation is the pits. Be truthful. No guilt jobs or faking needs and results. Get in the trenches; encourage others to do and be more; be a doorway to more for your working group. Lead by launching, not by lying.
'If you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond.' Look for the person who needs help, don't wait, expecting that they'll ask if they need it. Most people don't want to burden others or their sense of personal pride doesn't allow them to ask for assistance. Be brave and be bold. Keep your eyes open. Be alert and reach out.
'If you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them.' This can happen to the best of us. We lose our patience, and it shows in our tone or body language. If you're own empathy becomes a disadvantage you may need a breather. If either of these things happens, take a break. Breath and pray; ask God for the ability to be alert to your own responses. Be aware of how your thoughts and feelings may influence others.
'Keep a smile on your face.' We have so much to be thankful for; so much hope and love that we should be smiling all the time. Let your Joy overflow right out of your face. Smile.
Living in harmony. Do your best at what you're supposed to do. No more and no less. Be alert to the pitfalls. Watch your own responses. Remember to smile.