Getting Along with Others
I have two sons, Adin and Abel, ages 5 and 3, respectively. They share many similarities, although they have some personality differences. Generally, they play together quite well and enjoy each other's company. Typically, Adin leads and Abel follows. However, there are moments when they don't get along so well. Their disagreements usually center around fighting over a toy and a reluctance to share (in a word, selfishness). But, these conflicts are always short-lived and quickly forgotten.

The apostle Paul wrote in I Thessalonians 5:13 - "Be at peace among yourselves." Elsewhere he wrote - "If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men" (Rom. 12:18). That is good advice for children and adults alike! Friends, do you get along with others as you could and should? Do you work for peace to the best of your ability? Are you at odds with anyone presently? What have you done--and what more could you do--to seek reconciliation?

Reflect on these things as we consider a list of seven points that are certainly worthy of our consideration regarding getting along with others.

1. Keep a chain on your tongue (cf. James 3).
Always say less than you think. Don't put your brain in neutral when your tongue is in gear. Before a word is spoken, it should be able to pass through these three doors: (1) Is it true?, (2) Is it something that should be said?, and (3) Is it something that I'd want said about me--if roles were reversed (cf. Matt. 7:12)? Once a brother is offended, it may be difficult to win him back over (cf. Prov. 18:19). Therefore, we must be exceedingly careful with the use of sarcasm or jokes at the expense of another. Keeping the things we say (and write) on a tight leash will go a long way toward keeping the peace with others.

2. Make promises sparingly and keep them faithfully, no matter what it costs you (cf. Psa. 15:4).
When we break our word, it will affect our relationship with others in a negative way.

3. Never let an opportunity pass to say a kind and encouraging thing to or about somebody.
Praise good work, regardless of who did it. This always helps in our efforts to get along with others. Hebrews 3:13 - "But exhort one another daily, while it is called 'Today,' lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." If criticism is needed, offer it in a manner that will help and not hinder.

4. Be interested in others.
"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" (Phil. 2:3,4). Be interested in their pursuits, their welfare, and their families. "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep" (Rom. 12:15). Let everyone you meet, however lowly, feel that you regard him as one of importance.

5. Be cheerful.
"A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones" (Prov. 17:22). Keep the corners of your mouth turned up. Hide your pains, worries, and disappointments as much as possible under a smile. Laugh at good stories and learn to tell them.

6. Preserve an open mind on matters of opinion.
Hold fast to matters of the faith, but do so in a loving spirit. Don't bind your opinions on others or elevate them to the status of doctrine. Be willing to compromise on matters of opinion to pursue unity and keep the peace. "We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification" (Rom. 15:1,2).

7. Pay no attention to ill-natured remarks about you.
The best advice here is to live in such a way so that no one will believe them. Resist the urge to strike back with rude and inappropriate comments. Our Father in heaven is watching (cf. Matt. 12:36,37)!

It takes work, humility, and self-control (among other things) to be at peace with others. Getting along with others isn't easy, but it's what God wants us to strive for!