By Jessica Brodie
Sunday dinners at Gram’s house were the stuff of sitcoms.
My uncle Mike and Uncle Gary would debate politics with choice interjections from my mom and aunt. Grandma would be busy making sure everyone had enough salad or beef brisket. Meanwhile, we kids would drink ginger ale at the kids’ table from Gram’s fancy cranberry glasses and watch them banter, trying to figure out what it meant to be a real grownup. Grandpa would throw in a “now, Jeanne” or some inappropriate zinger, and my great-grandma, whom we all called Bubba since Uncle Gary couldn’t ever say “grandma” when he was little, would just smile and nod and start singing “Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue.”
Sometimes those debates would escalate; small tiffs could turn big. Interruptions were standard fare, and the “winner” was often the one whose voice was the loudest.
And then there was me—shy, rules-following, bookwormy me. Somehow I got the message from these family gatherings that I needed to be The Peacemaker. In my mind, it was “my job” to placate and listen, to smooth ruffled feathers and encourage everyone to patch things up. I’d watch and think, “Now, you apologize,” or “You, give her a hug,” and silently applaud when those actions occurred, and peace was restored.
Reading Romans 12 today reminds me of those dinners. The Apostle Paul gives us some good, practical advice on how to get along with each other as transformed Christians, including “don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think” (Romans 12:3 CEB), “Love each other like the members of your family” (Romans 12:10), and “Be happy with those who are happy, and cry with those who are crying” (Romans 12:15).
But the key verse for me is, “If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people” (Romans 12:18).
Yes, peace is key to getting along with people and living a life in line with our transformed Christian selves. We’re all different—we have different political views and different theological convictions. We have different tastes in food and music and different ideas about what makes a funny joke.
But when we can come together with others like we do at a family dinner table, even a family as argument-prone as mine, and come away with our bonds still intact, we’re doing something right. We’re operating as God wishes.
Today, there’s so much debate about scripture and what Jesus really meant when he said X or Y or Z. But we’re all Christians, and we’re all connected as one big family. As children of God, we need to remember that. It’s fine to argue, and it’s fine to have different opinions.
But at the end of the day, we are all part of God’s family. We all occupy seats at His table and rooms in His holy house.
Let’s remember to love each other like family, too.
As children of God, we need to remember that it’s fine to argue and have different opinions. But at the end of the day, we’re all part of God’s family. #Christian #unity #gettingalong #GodsFamily #acceptanceTweet
What do you think? How can we successfully disagree with each other over things we feel are crucial? Is there a way to disagree and still live in peace?
About Today’s Guest Writer: Jessica Brodie
Jessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach and the recipient of the 2018 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for her novel, The Memory Garden. She is the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism.
Learn more about her fiction and read her faith blog at http://jessicabrodie.com. She has a weekly YouTube devotional and podcast. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and more. She’s also produced a free eBook, A God-Centered Life: 10 Faith-Based Practices When You’re Feeling Anxious, Grumpy, or Stressed.
Jessica is a member of the Wholly Loved Ministries team. See below for information about an exciting, upcoming conference for mothers and daughters.
The Beautiful Mess Mother-Daughter Conference from Wholly Loved Ministries
Purpose: To help moms and daughters love each other well amid our messy yet beautiful lives.
The mother-daughter relationship can be one of the most precious connections we experience, but they can also be a source of conflict and pain. We’re all longing for deeper connection. As we navigate all the changes and challenges that come with living in a chaotic and broken world, how can we heal what’s been wounded and build upon all the beauty God has and will cultivate? Wholly Loved Ministries wants to help. Through personal anecdotes, biblical truths, and thought-provoking discussion questions, this event equips moms and daughters to cultivate the depth of relationship their hearts crave. The relationship God Himself wants them to experience.
During this event, moms with daughters of all ages will learn the importance of living and extending grace, how to love from a secure identity in Christ, one of the most powerful communication tools to grow our relationships, and how to follow God’s lead as we learn to love one another well.
Find out more HERE.
Drawing! If you register by March 20th, you’ll automatically be entered into a drawing for a $50 iTunes gift card.