Romans 15:5-7 ESV
“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. Therefore welcome one another as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God.”
No matter how different we are in race, color, politics, gender, sexual orientation, theology, or belief systems– we all have a shared humanity. We are all on this Earth together and we all bleed the same shade of red blood. We all want what is best for our families and communities. We all want to live in peace. Yet sin is always crouching at the door– inviting us to be jealous of one another, or closed-minded with stubbornness or impatience or intolerance. Sin comes lurking about, ready to spread fear and suspicion and deceit. Sin works in so many ways to undermine the basic truth– we are all in this world together and we can live in harmony and peace.
Somewhere in our lives we have grown to believe that the grass is always greener in someone else’s yard or that success and happiness is measured by how much we have or how much we can get in money, cars, luxury items, relationships, and so on. We are somehow conditioned to measure success by how well we are able to compete with others for what we want. We have grown accustomed to greed and pride and the attainment of stuff. And when we do obtain our stuff and think we can rest on our laurels and just when we think we have it all… there is always someone rubbing it on our faces that they have more. And worse yet, perhaps while surrounded by our stuff, we face the heavy price tag for all our desires and wants and realize the price is much more than the “prize”.
It also doesn’t surprise me now in this day and age that we have become so consumed with “getting what is ours” that we naturally find ourselves perpetuating the great divide between the Haves and Have Nots. We seem so willing to step over others to get what we feel entitled to. We would have no problem depriving other people for the sake of our own comfort and satisfaction. This is not what Christ had in mind at all.
To achieve harmony, I think we need to first achieve humility. We need to humble ourselves and recognize that the most valuable thing we have and need is our sense of humanity. We need to recognize that money and wealth and ego and pride cannot replace our relationships with each other and they cannot guarantee our happiness or security or safety. Human beings are social creatures. We need each other. We thrive in communities. Problems are best solved in cooperative efforts when people are equally invested in the mutual well-being of all involved. Conflicts arise when someone invariably believes they are superior to others for some reason– their wealth, their political clout, the accumulation of stuff….
If we shared more, invested in community more, and lived with a spirit of cooperation, we would be better off. If we recognized that we answer to a Creator and this Earth is so far our only home, we might consider life more precious than stuff.
To add more insight to this, I recommend listening to Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” speech. When you realize just how precious and rare life is, you begin to appreciate it all the more and recognize just how petty and greedy and self-absorbed we have become as human beings. Something has to change. Our priorities and attitudes have to change. We need to remember who put us here and remember who we really are as creations of God in His image, in my opinion.