By Dan King
Unity and harmony in human relationships is one of the most pleasant things in the world. David emphasized how basic it is in Psalm 133: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (v. 1) Life can be viewed as good or pleasant, happy or sad, depending upon our surroundings and circumstances, and how we see them.
Pity the poor family, whether blessed with this world’s goods or not, that spends most of their time together in disagreeable arguments and fits of temper. Life could be so much more enjoyable if all parties would make a serious effort to be happy together and make their home a “good and pleasant” place to be. The result would be that the family circle would represent to all members of the household, a veritable “shelter in the time of storm” from all the vicissitudes of this world, a place to which each family member would flee to find repose from the turmoils of modern life in the city.
Likewise, God intended that the church be such a bastion of relief to distraught and distressed souls of this world. It was his intention that it be seen as a relationship filled with comfort and consolation for sin-sick men and women, a place to which they might flee from the ugliness and evil of the carnal side of life.
Imagine, then, how God must see it from his heaven, when the church is filled with unkind and hostile feelings and words, when brethren are hateful to one another, and lies and animosities abound. The Word of God has plenty to say of this in a score of New Testament passages (1 Cor. 1:10; 3:3, 17; Gal. 5:15, 20; etc.). But none is so heartfelt and sincere, as the prayer of the Savior, uttered on the night of his betrayal:
“That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (Jn. 17:21).
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Not only is it the will of God for us so to dwell, but it is indeed “good and pleasant.” As members of the body of Jesus Christ, let’s all work hard to make our families what they should be in the sight of the Lord. And, let’s try hard to see to it that our church relationships are full of the harmony and friendliness that can make it the closest thing to “heaven on earth.”
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 15, p. 484
August 15, 1991