Suggested Reading: Psalm 133:1-3
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.—Romans 15:5-6
Imagine a world where people of all races, tongues, and ethnicities got along together. Awesome right? Unfortunately, presently that kind of world only exists in our imaginations. But that is not to say it is an impossibility. As Paul explained to the believers in Rome even this kind of love and harmony is possible and can exist when the God of endurance and encouragement enables us to do so, when we are in one accord with the will of Christ Jesus. As the Scriptures remind us “all things are possible for those who are in Christ Jesus and called according to his purposes” (Matt.19:23-30; Romans 8:28)
All disharmony between people and people groups can be traced back to the garden. A perfectly harmonious environment was destroyed when he entered in. The first relationship he destroyed was between spouses, then families; siblings, relatives, and eventually his spirit of discord and hatred was evident between races of people.
If you are a student of Paul then you know almost every one of his letters to the churches include something about cultivating good, healthy, harmonious relationships. When he wrote his letter to the Roman believers, he addressed relationships between Jews and Gentiles. Two groups of people who would not normally have found much in common. Culturally and otherwise, they were as different as night from day. But through Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit even this was possible because God makes all things, even racial harmony, possible.
Over our decades of ministering to others, we have often been called to faith communities that would become a rainbow of God’s people and have the task of helping people accept one another although they did not look anything alike or share similar life experiences. While it took work, perseverance, endurance, and encouragement it was always rewarding and worth it and there was always a sense of joy being able to witness people who had started out with little in common, outside their faith, bond, build strong relationships and become friends and family. How often we would hear comments that this is what heaven would be like.
Just like those of Paul’s time, the people of God today can be pioneers in race relations. Exampling for a torn and broken, hostile, disharmonious and fractured world what getting along together looks and feels like. We can enjoy and live in what the psalmist said when he wrote, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” and as Paul said in Galatians 3:28; now “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
The devil enters in to bring discord between people and races of people, but God has remade us, refashioned us for his purposes and in his image of love and peace, acceptance, enjoyment, appreciation, and unity. This is the only lifestyle, heart, and attitude that mirrors and glorifies him. It may take work and endurance on our part, but he has partnered with us to make this a reality and possible. Because of the unity Jesus made possible through his death on the cross where he took the sin of hatred and disdain for one another with him. It was nailed there with all other sin and is no longer our story and does not have to be our reality.
Scripture encourages us to live courageously in this way. We may not be able to change the entire world, but we will certainly impact those around us when we are courageous enough to live what we know and prove God all-powerful, present, and right once again. Let’s Pray,
God, just as you enjoy unity and harmony with the Son and the Spirit we can learn to enjoy unity and harmony with one another even when we belong to different races and have varying experiences and cultures. Grant that we will reflect your spirit of harmony in all of our earthly relationships and that we persevere and endure, living in one accord to assure, if not the entire world, at least our world and part of it glorifies you in this way. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
How do Paul’s letter to the believers in Rome and the psalmists praise of unity encourage you to live courageously with people of all races in this way?