Music is a beautiful language which speaks to our souls. Words on the wings of music often break through and affect me much deeper than speech alone. The second verse of a hymn by Keith Getty teaches, admonishes, and convicts me:
“Beneath the cross of Jesus, His family is my own — Once strangers chasing selfish dreams, now one through grace alone. How could I now dishonor, the ones that You have loved? Beneath the cross of Jesus see the children called by God.”
In my earthly family I have one brother and he is older than me. When we were young, we fought like most brothers and sisters. I’m not sure what our fighting was all about, but I do remember Mom being distraught over our behavior and Dad not being pleased. There was a day when dad was pretty well fed up with us and the way we were acting. He stood us in front of each other and told Loran to hit me. After an initial look of shock, Loran said no, he couldn’t do that. So, Dad told me to hit Loran. (Thankfully, I said I couldn’t do it either.) Somehow, we both ended up in tears, hugging, and apologizing to each other. Standing in front of Dad made fighting – wrong. It wasn’t the fear of being punished that stopped us from fighting that day. It was the realization that we had disappointed Dad. Dad loved both of us unconditionally and completely. We did not honor him by fighting with each other.
Something happened, though, as we got older. In high school we pretty much ignored each other; however, I know my brother would have defended me if the need arose. In college, he became not only a protective older brother, but a friend who wanted the best for me in life. And now, we rejoice in each other’s triumphs, weep together in our sorrows, and encourage each other in life. (He also does all the physical labor required to keep my house safe, functional, and beautiful.)
It isn’t much different in the family of God, is it? Anyone who has been a part of a church or para-church family has experienced the fights and struggles that happen when we walk in the flesh and not in the spirit. How important to ask ourselves if what we are doing is displeasing to God. Even though we may be right in our thinking, we may be wrong in our actions or attitudes. He loves each of us unconditionally and completely and we do not honor Him when we do not honor each other.
As we live our lives, we will need to apologize. We may need to admonish softly and with compassion. We must rejoice with each other, weep with each other, and honor each other.
So let us press on to do what is right and what is pleasing to God, rejoicing that He has called us to the foot of the cross.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.