“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud but enjoy the company of the lowly. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:16-18

“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” – Philippians 2:1-3

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” – Colossians 3:12-14

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. “ – Ephesians 4:31-32

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness, no one will see the Lord.” – Hebrews 12:14

The Bible tells us that we are to live in harmony with each other even when others treat us poorly.  When someone mistreats you, that does not mean you should retaliate.  Do not lower yourself to the level of the person attacking you.  Instead, let them know you are sorry they are upset with you, and you will try to avoid causing them to be angry in the future. 

On some occasions, the other person will respond positively to your effort to reconcile with them.  If the other person continues to attack you, that is their problem; you should not lower yourself to respond to that person.

It is not easy to maintain your dignity and avoid striking back at those who wish you harm.  It takes strong self-control and the belief that God will always be with you.  After you experience the benefits of not responding negatively to other people, you will understand the power of unity and experience how God responds to you when you support him even when it is so challenging.

One of the parables from Jesus explains this concept.  The parable of the Unforgiving Servant, Matthew 18:23-35:

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had to be sold to repay the debt.

“At this, the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt, and let him go.

“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger, his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he could pay back all he owed.

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

It is important that we always maintain unity with God, even when it is difficult for us.  We must be humble with our superiors and with those who serve us.  It is critical to always have unity before God.

Greg after dropping to the second string.

Greg played on his high school football team.  He was the quarterback and co-captain of the football team.  He worked hard at practices and during the games to stand out as a key player. He always wanted to earn a football scholarship to a major university and felt he needed as much credit for playing well as he could earn. 

During a key game, Greg threw a pass too quickly, and the other team intercepted the pass and won the game.  The coach had a talk with Greg after the game and let Greg know that he was considering putting him on the bench the next game because he was so careless.  Greg was very upset.  He told the coach that he would not let that happen again and he learned from his mistake.  The coach decided to give Greg another chance.

Then during the next game, Greg faced a key part of the game.  It was a key third down and the team needed a first down to maintain a chance to win the game.  Greg called a passing play to his tight end.  The tight end turned in the wrong direction and the pass just hit the ground.  The tight end accused Greg of calling the wrong play.  Greg was so angry at the tight end. In the huddle, Greg told the tight end that he would not pass to him again.   The tight end was upset and complained to the other players. 

The coach learned about the incident and immediately reduced Greg to second string because of the way Greg treated the other player.  The coach told Greg that he just gave him a second chance and then he would not help his own player after a mistake.  The coach told Greg that Greg wanted help from the coach, but Greg would not help another player.

Greg thought about the incident and realized that he was wrong and deserved to lose his position as the starting quarterback on the team.  Fortunately for Greg, he applied this experience to the rest of his life, and he made sure he treated everyone respectfully regardless of how they treated him.  He made sure he acted appropriately regardless of how others treated him.  

Greg did not earn a scholarship, but he worked his way through college and learned an important lesson that helped him for the rest of his life.

It is important to maintain your unity with God regardless of how other people treat you.  Sometimes people will take advantage of you and other times you will improve the situation by being respectful of someone who tried to hurt you.  Either way, it is important for you to maintain unity and not compromise yourself.  Always try to help other people.

Published by Jim Brandt

Jim Brandt was an all-conference college football player and served as a Marine Corps pilot during the Vietnam War. He also started a software company and served as an executive for the fifth-largest bank in the United States. Brandt won the Democratic party nomination for Congress twice. He is married and has three children.