We have two black female cats that hang out on our front porch. Moonbow and Shadow. Whenever one of us steps outside, Moonbow will jump down from her sleeping spot and come over to us, looking for attention, hoping to be caressed.
If Shadow comes over and gets too close to us, Moonbow swats at her.
Go away. Mee-owww! I was here first.
It’s no secret that women can be catty. Purring around the people they like, but swatting, scratching, growling and hissing at those they don’t.
Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? …Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. – James 3
Among God’s daughters, we shouldn’t give place to rivalry – especially in the church.
No competing, no comparing, no envy allowed.
Your successes should be my successes, your joys my joys, and your struggles can be mine as well. We can find reasons to rejoice together. We can cry and pray over heartaches together.
Our oneness with each other reflects our oneness with Christ and His oneness with the Father… so the world will know we belong to Him, and be drawn to that same love.
…that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. – John 17
You and I should find our greatest cheerleaders among the women we worship with.
No swatting, no veiled insults or sarcastic little digs.
Every vital ingredient for nurturing our souls should be found among believers.
God is the God of relationships. Vertical and horizontal. The Ten Commandments address relationships – those with God and those with the humans we rub against everyday.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor… You shall not covet any thing that is your neighbor’s. – Exodus 20
Is my church known for its love, or do our women swat at anyone who comes in looking better (or doing anything better)?
Do church members feel safe when they enter the doors? Not only accepted, but also valued? Are they treated with dignity? Honored and cared for?
When we dress in our newest spring outfit, do we check the mirror into our heart to make sure our attitudes are looking good, too?
Ladies, we are sisters by Christ’s blood. Family. They will know we are Christians by the love we have for one another, Scripture tells us.
I have enemies outside the church. Why would I go to church if I find enemies there as well?
If they’re not against us, they’re for us, Jesus told His disciples.
And how many times the New Testament writers encouraged believers to get along peaceably! Are you for me or against me? May I remind you who the real enemy is?
The fruit of the Spirit, the evidence of His life blossoming in me – first in the biblical list is Love. Galatians 5:22-23
This doesn’t mean I can’t be honest in dealing with sin. It doesn’t mean we aren’t to communicate to work through difficulties. We can and should speak the truth – again, in love. With wisdom, honesty and gentle humility.
There’s nothing so beautiful and so refreshing as humans truly looking out for one another.
Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus… – Philippians 2:1-5
Father God, I pray the beauty and healing power of Your compassion will flow through me in all my relationships. In Jesus’ name, amen.