GETTING ALONG WITH PRACTICALLY ANYBODY!
We can get along with almost anybody if we will submit to the principles found in the Word of God. Sometimes situations arise where there is genuine hostility. It can even occur between good friends. Problems can and do occur, even in the best of families. It can help if someone is willing to communicate, if someone will make the first move to break the ice. Communication is important in problem solving. We must remember that if we are having a problem with someone, they are not omniscient and may not know that a problem exists. Remember, if we are the one with the problem then it is “our” responsibility to “go” to the other person, not the other way around. Read again Matthew 18:15-17 which is basically a directive to communicate.
Another principle to be remembered is that of origin. “Like produces like.” The principle of reproduction, which was first established in the Garden of Eden, remains intact. Roses produce roses, cherry trees produce cherries, and people still give birth to people.
But there is a spiritual principle to be gleaned from this truth. Just as a tree is known by its fruit, so man is also known by his or her actions. The Bible tells us that as a man thinks in his heart, so he is. Whatever our life is preoccupied with, that is what our mouths speak.
So let’s take that principle and run with it a bit so that we might understand some folks and where they are coming from. Like produces like. It goes something like this, if a person would be wise, the folks he spends time with will be wise people. Also, if a person would be wise, he will avoid walking in the counsel and company of fools. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15:33 that bad company corrupts good character. Consequently, if an individual that you are having a problem with is running with bad company, you can expect to receive from that person a lack of response or even a negative response to Biblical wisdom.
Like produces like. Since this is true, what better place could a person spend their time than with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18). Now since the Holy Spirit is God and if two people are in a right relationship to Him, then it follows that their relationship will also be good. The Holy Spirit will produce the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. All of these positive attributes work together to produce good relationships.
As the Holy Spirit works within relationships, we find that to concentrate on the mercy of God causes those involved in that relationship to be merciful to one another. Likewise, when Christians meditate on the immeasurable and inexpressible love of God, they will be loving to one another. When one stands amazed at the patience of God, they become more patient with others. Like produces like.
Now let’s center on some specific Biblical instructions that will help us get along with most anyone. In answer to the Pharisee’s question, Jesus said something that impacts relationships in a most dramatic manner. He gave us a very large key as He said, ” ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself ‘ ” (Matthew 22:37-39).
He gave us two important principles that would solve most difficult relationships if the principles were applied. First, He instructed us to love God. Second, He instructed us to love other people as we love ourselves. In other words, Christ was saying we can’t help but get along with people if we love them.
To have good relationships based on Christ’s instructions, we must have His priorities—put God first and then put other people before ourselves. Love enables us to do that.
Right about now someone is probably thinking, “but I can’t love that rotten, obnoxious, aggravating person.” Or, “there are just some kinds of people I can’t stand, they just grate on my nerves.”
“However, here is the point. Christ would never tell us to do something we were not capable of doing. Consequently, it follows that when we say, “I can’t,” we are really saying “I won’t.” Big difference. Okay, so what can we do to be obedient?
Answer: God’s Word holds the key and so we must turn to that. In the book of Ephesians the Apostle Paul puts it to us as he talks bluntly about relationships. Let’s see how he instructed the Ephesians to get along with certain classes of people.
(1) FELLOW CHRISTIANS (4:2-5:2). Here we find that to maintain the unity, we are given several principles that need to be applied to relationships:
a) Speak the truth in love (vv. 15, 16).
b) Control anger (v. 26).
c) Say only that which builds others up (v. 29).
d) Be kind and forgiving (v. 32).
e). Walk in love (5:2).
(2) HUSBANDS (5:22-24). Wives are to submit to their husbands as the church submits to God.
(3) WIVES (5:25-33). Husbands are to love their wives as they love their own bodies, following the example of Christ’s sacrificial love for the church.
(4) PARENTS (6:1-3). Children are to honor their parents.
(5) CHILDREN (6:4). Fathers are not to treat their children in a way that makes them vengeful.
(6) EMPLOYERS (6:5-8). Workers are to labor with goodwill and sincerity.
(7) EMPLOYEES (6:9). Bosses are not to threaten employees.
(8) THE WORLD (6:10-20). A believer who is armored by truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and prayer will be an effective Christian among unbelievers.
NOTE: When you are under the control of the Holy Spirit, and submitted to the Bible, your heart will be filled with love and you will have learned the secret of getting along with practically everyone.