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A lesson from three giggling girls

I came in the other night and found three little girls at our house—two 3-year olds and a 5-year-old.

As if my wife had not already had enough involvement in dealing with children already, she had our two granddaughters and one of the church girls with her at home.

There was plenty of silly giggles to be heard and an abundance of young energy being utilized as Mallory, Jaleah and Anna Beth enjoyed each other’s company. But from time to time, I would hear the giggles turn to cries and the energy that had been used to run and play became the fuel of combat against each other.

It always amazes me how children learn to fight without being taught!

But another interesting observation about those little confrontations between the girls was that they did not last: there were no lasting grudges, no plan for deeper retaliation, no desire to completely destroy anyone.

They quickly got over whatever disputes that they had, forgot about it and went on to enjoy their time together.

I do not know at what time in life we forget how to let things go and not stew in anger, bitterness and hatred, but somewhere along life’s way we find it necessary to have things our way at all costs. We sacrifice peace and unity so cheaply.

The absence of peace and unity destroys personal relationships, homes, churches and communities. Satan and his forces of evil raise their ugly heads in so many ways and under so many circumstances to steal peace and unity.

Christ said in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (NIV).

Christ is our only hope of abundant life on this earth and eternal life after life here ends. He is the only source of genuine peace and unity.

The early church as described in the Book of Acts gives us a beautiful picture of people that enjoyed the peace and unity found in Christ. Luke records in Acts 4:32 that “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.”

There is no doubt that all those referred to by Luke had their unique personalities and opinions like we do, yet peace and unity prevailed. How could that be?

They all held to a common cause. They understood that real life was not found in promoting their personal agendas or building their own kingdoms, instead, they understood that abundant life was found in surrendering their self will to the will of God and allowing Him to be in control. When God is in control of our lives, our view of self becomes different and our value of others is changed. When we begin to see and hear things in the way that Christ would have us to, we are brought to realize that we are all equally valuable in His sight. When we see and hear in that way, the soil of life is prepared for peace and unity to flourish.

In I Corinthian 11, the apostle Paul deals with a problem in the church. He states in verse 18, “In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it.”

Those divisions arose because of greed. When they gathered to share a meal and observe Holy Communion in remembrance of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ that was sacrificed for the sins of the world, such greed rose up among them that some over indulged in the food, while others were left with little or nothing to eat. The event that should have united them in the love of Christ became an occasion for peace and unity to be disrupted. How different that was from what Luke noted a few years earlier in Acts 4:32.

Which group are we the most like today—the one described in Acts 4:32, which demonstrated genuine love for each other, or those in I Corinthians 11, who selfishly put their own interests above concern for others?

I fear that the answer is too obvious!

Yet the solution might not be as big of a mystery as we have convinced ourselves that it is. Perhaps we all need to relearn what those three giggling girls know: hold loosely to our conflicts, forgive each other quickly and express the genuine love of Christ at every opportunity.

May we not be robbed of peace and unity because of prejudice, jealousy and greed. May we instead let go of those things so we can enjoy the abundant life that is found in total surrender to Christ.