Next week, Ron and I will celebrate 41 years of marriage. Time flies when you’re having fun! But, whenever one or both of our lives turns less than festive, days drag ever-so-slowly. Thankfully, our speedy days far outnumber the slow ones.
If you’ve been married a while and still have a smile on your face, then you understand all it takes to thrive. Even with a long-lasting friendship you realize how intentional both of you must be for the relationship to endure.
No other statement sums up all the Laws of Relationships better than the Golden Rule. You most likely learned it in elementary school: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12)
Did you know Jesus holds the prize for first stating this in its positive form? Before Jesus’ version hit the disciples’ ears, they had only heard the negative form: “What is hateful to you, do not do to anyone else.” (Rabbi Hillel, a.d.20)
I believe Jesus intended for His version to constructively penetrate our hearts so we can go above and beyond merely doing no harm. He wants His children to live in love and unity whether we are married, siblings, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or members of the same church. Love demonstrated through unity powerfully lights up any dark place. True oneness causes those who don’t know Jesus to shake their heads in amazement, and that’s the first step to them wanting what we have. However, make no mistake. Unity is costly!
For Ron and I to become one, it took more than a ceremony. Sure, we made the promises, lit the candle, and sealed it all with a kiss, but it’s taken so much more! It’s taken surrender, compromise, listening, loving, forgiving, and even some trial-and-error to move us closer to complete oneness.
It takes consistent and intentional communication to move any two people or groups closer together. It takes liberal amounts of time sitting across the table to find out the other person’s likes and dislikes, hurts and joys, and all the stories that have made them who they are.
Most of us truly want to follow the Golden Rule, but we don’t know how to do that effectively unless we get some feedback. Here’s the rub: the way I want to be treated may not be the way you want me to treat you, and vice-versa. Learning how to love others and teaching them how to love us takes patience, time, and communication. Positive and even corrective feedback teaches us how to love others successfully. When we boil it all down and look in the bottom of that golden rule pot, we see one thing that’s most needed to accomplish our goal of doing unto others – RESPECT. When we respect one another’s differences and pay attention to what both parties need we give unity our best shot.
In today’s climate, unity seems elusive. It seems unattainable. Perhaps you’re like me and wonder how you can possibly make a difference. The answer may be a simple one that’s slow and painstaking. That’s the nature of unity. Each one of us can choose to become more intentional about getting to know more people. Ron and I have made the choice to be more deliberate with inviting old and new friends over for a meal. I like to cook, and he likes to talk, so we make a good team. This might be a good day for you to decide on your one way to more effectively love the people in your life. It’s the little things that make the strongest impact.
“Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, according to Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with one mind and one voice.”(Romans 15:5-6, CSB; emphasis mine)
I’m happy to say that next Tuesday, the 23rd, is our actual anniversary. So, we’re taking the week off! See you again on the 30th! Happy Tuesday!