Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday, August 31: Psalms 132-134; 2 Corinthians 10 by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Psalms 132-134; 2 Corinthians 10

This verse really stood out for me:

verse 133:1 Behold, how good and pleasant it is
    when brothers dwell in unity.

Immediately, I thought about the upcoming elections...both the immediate Canadian and the more distant US election. Have you watched any of the debates? Unity is the farthest thing from anyone's minds. Snippets of angry press conferences, mudslinging commercials with taglines even kids are repeating (He's just not ready),  and every attempt to belittle and step on each other is evidence to how bad and unpleasant it can be to be at odds with one another. Even after the election happens, unity does not happen because the winning party is never able to fulfill all of the items on its promises and the losing party, who would never have been able to fulfill of its campaign promises either, spends the next 4 years whining and complaining that they would have been better. 

More personally, custody battles between angry ex-spouses cause emotional scarring and turmoil to their kids caught in the middle of two people they love. Over the years of teaching grade 1, I have unfortunately seen the effects of divorce and separation on the hearts and minds of innocent 6 year olds who are on a roller coaster ride they never asked to ride. Even in my own life, the breakdown of my own parents' marriage has been hard on me to be in the middle....and I'm not even a child who has to live at home through the process.

I looked up some commentary on this verse and found this here:

What it is that is commended—brethren’s dwelling together in unity, not only not quarrelling, and devouring one another, but delighting in each other with mutual endearments, and promoting each other’s welfare with mutual services. Sometimes it is chosen, as the best expedient for preserving peace, that brethren should live asunder and at a distance from each other; that indeed may prevent enmity and strife (Gen. 13:9 ), but the goodness and pleasantness are for brethren to dwell together and so to dwell in unity, to dwell even as one (so some read it), as having one heart, one soul, one interest. David had many sons by many wives; probably he penned this psalm for their instruction, to engage them to love another, and, if they had done this, much of the mischief that arose in his family would have been happily prevented. The tribes of Israel had long had separate interests during the government of the Judges, and it was often of bad consequence; but now that they were united under one common head he would have them sensible how much it was likely to be for their advantage, especially since now the ark was fixed, and with it the place of their rendezvous for public worship and the centre of their unity. Now let them live in love. How commendable it is: Behold, how good and how pleasant it is! It is good in itself, agreeable to the will of God, the conformity of earth to heaven. It is good for us, for our honour and comfort. It is pleasant and pleasing to God and all good men; it brings constant delight to those who do thus live in unity. Behold, how good! We cannot conceive or express the goodness and pleasantness of it. Behold it is a rare thing, and therefore admirable. Behold and wonder that there should be so much goodness and pleasantness among men, so much of heaven on this earth! Behold it is an amiable thing, which will attract our hearts. Behold it is an exemplary thing, which, where it is, is to be imitated by us with a holy emulation. (emphasis mine)

To live in unity is hard. Marriages, created to be the example of unity, now has evolved to nothing more than a passing fling that begins and ends at the whim of those involved. Over the recent years, divorce within Christian circles is just as common as outside them. Even those who choose to stay married may not be as unified to their spouse as they claim to be as evidenced by the recent Ashley Madison customer base being hacked and shared.

Although it is good and pleasant to live in unity, I don't think that means at the expense of not standing up for what is right. However, I do think there are ways to stand up without angst or purposely striving to divide without a possibility of unity.
The Westboro Baptist church is well known for its vocal stance against homosexuality. In fact, the church's website address can be found at The Westboro Church has created a deep divide between people, does not show love and compassion, and has been responsible for 55,682 pickets against various things. Although their motivation to have people who repent appears to be genuine, their execution of their plan to make that happen is flawed. Their negative publicity paints all Christians with the same brush and instead of drawing sinners to Christ their hateful "holier than thou" mentality has distorted the message in a way that will be hard to undo. The Westboro church's in-your-face brazenness has probably prompted the placing of Focus on the Family as a hate group on wikipedia in the "See Also" section.

We are all sinners and we shouldn't judge people because they sin different than we do. Instead we should attempt to live in unity with each other...forming relationships with people...understanding that we all need a Saviour...and leaving it for God to be the judge. Living in unity is like Heaven on Earth. It will not always attainable but something we should strive for.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Psalms 135-136; 2 Corinthians 11:1-15


TammyIsBlessed said...

Great post Pamela.

As Christians we need to learn the difference between not judging others for sinning differently than we do, but still calling sin sin and holding each other accountable. Hard, yet so vital!

Conrad said...

The same verse on unity stood out for me, but it reminded me of my workplace. It's a small company and most people working there are family, while the rest of us (two) have been there so long it's like we are family. Quite often it feels like there should be more unity at my work place, so I pray that I can be bold when I need to be, but also recognize that there are times when my words need to be gentle.