North Santa Rosa

Living with Purpose

     The sound of music was always in my home as a child. I can vividly remember my mother playing through the hymns for Sunday on Saturday nights. She was the church pianist for a period of time until my sister grew into it. My Mom tried to teach me how to play, but I’d always prefer being outside riding my bike, climbing a tree, or fishing in the pond beside our home. My sister, however, took my Mom’s musical guidance and nurtured her talent. Her faithfulness to practice helped her to become one of the best piano players I know. I can remember requesting some of my favorite tunes and she would always accommodate me. The harmony of the music was always soothing to me and helped iron out some of the stresses of life.

     God loves harmony in our personal relationships. When Christians live in harmony, its music to His ears. A troubled friend of mine called me one day and explained for a number of years she had held a grudge against her father. When she became a Christian she discovered her feelings toward her father were the opposite of Jesus’ teaching. She knew she needed to forgive him, and eventually she succeeded. For a number of years she was satisfied that she had won out over hate. Her relationship with her father even improved. Then she wasn’t so sure of her victory. Feelings of hate and bitterness began to rise again, and she didn’t seem to be able to do anything about it. Even her prayers seemed fruitless. I ask her, “Did you really forgive him the first time? Did she need to forgive him again? And is forgiving the same as forgetting?” She discovered that forgiving others is part of our heritage as members of God’s family. Because isn’t this what God does for us?

     If there was more forgiveness practiced, there would be less divorce. When husbands and wives are loving each other, looking out for each other, encouraging each other, and serving each other, it’s like a symphony. Any musically inclined person will tell you harmony is not achieved without effort. You have to work at it with patience until you get it right. Romans 15:5 says, “Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another.”

     We can be personally encouraged by the fact that God “gives endurance and encouragement” to our work. He doesn’t command harmony from us and leave us to do it by ourselves, but empowers us by His own Spirit. We must recognize the extreme value in reconciliation and action that promote harmony. Patching over a disagreement isn’t truth and justice; nor does it produce joy or harmony. Avoiding conflict at the expense of convictions is a shallow way to live.

     Harmony is enjoyed and appreciated when the hard work of living in peace and understanding is practiced in our daily encounters. Being honest with your feelings and respectfully working out disagreements is like practicing music together until it starts to sound good. The relationships that weather the storms of conflict are the ones that are strongest. As a result of lessons learned, I tell couples to never avoid healthy conflict. Choose today to workout interpersonal issues with grace. Patience is also needed to produce a beautiful song that delights you and the ones you love.

     The Bible says, “If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18). The closer we are to God, the more we pray to God, and the more we trust in Him, the less taste we will have for controversy. The peace you and I can obtain from following Christ can remain unbroken as we surrender our will to God’s will. A person who is Spirit-filled will never be a good fighter in relationship matters. For its peace that Jesus offers and it’s this peace that a Christian has to offer as a symbol of reconciliation. A negative person bent on winning an argument is always bitter at invective power plays. A person with the wrong attitude and one that holds bitterness in their heart has no conscience about fair debate. A positive person is always more at home blessing than they are at opposing.

     Working out interpersonal difficulties is like learning to sing harmony. The fact that it takes time and energy to get it right doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. Just think how things could change for the better if you played the role of a peacemaker. This is what God says you are (Matt. 5:9). Depend on God to help you and ask Him to give you the right spirit to live out what He claims you to be.

  •       This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and a 1LT Chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserves. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at
Posted by on Dec 22 2013. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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