Her walk on the beach continued. She slowed her pace to keep a careful eye on the sand for special shells to collect. A moving shell caught her eye and she paused to look closer. Reaching out of its conch house to stretch its legs for a walk, the hermit crab and shell moved together. The shell provided protection and the crab supplied mobility. Protection and mobility – both essential elements. The crab and shell worked together beautifully and displayed a picture of creation’s harmony.
Moving together. Working together. Being together. She thought deeper. This was God’s intention for relationships – to work together in beautiful harmony. In music, harmony happens when notes stay true to their sound but join together to create a chord. Different but vital voices working together to achieve a richer sound.
Biblical harmony happens when we courageously release our authentic voice to the tune of truth and invite others to do the same through agape love.
But humanity makes harmony difficult, doesn’t it? Under the weight of a broken world, hurting people hurt us, and many times we suffer a wound that leaves us bleeding instead of belonging. We may have experienced such messy relationships that we falsely assume it’s better to walk alone. Or the enemy spins Scripture like our passage this week, to distort God’s truth. Instead of God’s intention for harmony, sadly we might find a forced hierarchy that teaches women to hide their voice or even in extreme cases excuses emotional abuse.
And when this happens, we all lose out because ever voice is needed to create the glorious sound God intended. Like the shell and hermit crab or the different notes in a chord, our diversity creates the need for us to link arms with one another. As we stand together to the tune of truth, our lives work together beautifully (Ephesians 4:16). And as we honor each voice, including our own, with authentic humility, like instruments playing together in God’s orchestra as he conducts us, we will make beautiful music that sings of the glory of God. But if we hide our voice, the sound simply isn’t complete.
So, what is the solution? The truth is that this side of heaven will always live inside a fallen humanity. We are broken ourselves and we live among broken people. We hurt others and other hurt us. But as we remember and reflect on God’s intention for relationships, we can be encouraged that our wounds are not God’s heart for us…nor are we defined by the way others treat us. Then instead of pursuing the cycle of hurt by retaliating, we forgive and forge ahead with wisdom from the Holy Spirit. Above all, we understand that our free will is a precious treasure to guard so we can give our hearts fully to God. We do not lose our dignity or identity while inside of community.
Treasured One, let God’s heart for harmony inspire you and me to become a part of the solution, riding the tide closer and closer back to God’s intention for relationships by understanding where our responsibility begins and ends. Jesus does not call us to BE the Savior but to FOLLOW the Savior. This authentic humility means that we realize we cannot fix others, but we CAN follow Jesus.
With grace let us gain God’s perspective to think differently so we can live differently as God intended and open the gift of WORKING TOGETHER.
Nourish Scripture: 1 Peter 2:13-3:8
For a follow-up article written by John Piper that relates to our Nourish Scripture this week, click the link below.