So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up. ~ Romans 14:19 (NLT)
When I was in high school, I was in both the main choir and the select choir. (If you heard me sing today, you couldn’t believe that is true. But it is.) I could stay on pitch and hit the notes that were assigned to the bass section pretty well. The one thing I always struggled to do? Harmonize. I couldn’t, and still can’t, sing harmonies even if my life depended upon it. If someone started singing the melody to the song Jesus Loves Me, for example, I could not harmonize with them at all. Many people have tried to teach me over the years, but it just has never stuck. It’s beyond my comprehension. I can’t figure out what notes I’m supposed to be singing. Maybe you can relate?
Our choir teacher realized that I, and several others were struggling in this area, so he would let us hear the notes we were supposed to be hitting on the piano. Once I heard those notes, I could hit them (most of the time). It was, and is, the only way I can actually harmonize with anyone who is singing.
In the church (Not the building, but the body of believers), we are called to live in harmony with each other. No, not just in singing, but in everything. So, what does harmony in the church look like? Well, to simplify it, a harmony compliments what someone else is doing. Therefore, harmony in the church means we live to lift one another up; to encourage each other. If means we seek to make things joy-filled, peaceful, and beautiful. It means that we stop being critical and start being supportive. The apostle Paul, who was no stranger to criticism, put it this way, “So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.”
So, what does this look like in real life? Let others know you appreciate them. Let others know when they’ve done a good job, and help encourage them when things don’t go well. Seek community with the family of God – you can’t harmonize with someone unless you are in their presence. Don’t look at the negatives, but focus on the positives. Don’t view disagreement as a fight. Instead, reframe it as an opportunity for a conversation. Don’t hold grudges. Forgive. In summary, seek to make beautiful music with your church family.