We don’t live alone in this world. We live in companionships, in families, in friendships, in churches, in communities and to do that require our ability to get along with others. Yet there are some of us who complain about the difficulty of getting along with others.
These type of people are very good on their own, and when alone, where no other life comes in contact with theirs, where they are entirely their own master and have to think only of themselves, and where they can have their own way, who yet make most wretched business of living when they come into living with others.
Unfortunately this seems to be the new code in the world today. Too many messages abound that praise and encourage people to be selfish, tyrannical, absorbing, despotic, and wilful. People are being encouraged to not brook suggestions, request or authority. All around us we find people who will not make any compromise, will not yield their own opinions, preferences, or prejudices, will not submit to any inconveniences, or any sacrifice.
Yet these individuals are good in many respects. They live morally. They do good in the world. They are even generous in certain ways, and may be refined and cultured. But they cannot live cordially with people; at least other people cannot live cordially with them. They have not the remotest conception of life with self-denials and sacrifices in it, in which others have to be considered.
I see these types of people in all faith – at lease the faith being practiced where I live and places I have been privileged to visit. But as a Christian, I know that we are not Christians until we have learned to live “Christianly” in our relationships.
Take for example a family relationship. A true marriage means the ultimate bringing of two lives into perfect oneness that there shall not be discord in the “blended music”. Just as the bible defined, “They twain shall become one.”
To attain this oneness, each spouse, or partner in that marriage must learn to give up much. Neither can move on independently of the other without thought or without self-forgetfulness. The relationship isn’t that of master and slave, but that of love. There must be on the path of both, self-repression, and self-renunciation. The aim of each must be seek and do – what always is love’s aim; which is to serve the other, the deeper love to serve the more deeply.
It takes little things to mar the music of love, and it also takes little things of love; the thoughtfulness, the words spoken in season, the gentle acts of common kindness etc to make the marriage and relationship almost divinely sweet.
In whatever relationships we find ourselves, we must learn to live with other people in harmony of love. And remember, people are not all good and gentle. Not many of them are so self-forgetful that they are willing to do all the yielding, all the giving up or sacrificing. We must each do our share of this office of love if we are to live happily in our relationships.
“The essential thing in love is not receiving but giving; not the desire to be helped or humoured, but to help and humour.”
Live your greatest life!