Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. (1 Pet. 3:8)

MARY LOVED TO SING, however, she couldn’t carry a tune. As she belted out her own version of the hymns, all who heard her just grinned and bore it. Eyes rolled and stifled smiles spread across lips. One woman whispered to her guest, “That’s just Mary. At least she honestly praises the Lord, and, besides, she does so much around here for the kingdom.”

The congregation who knew and loved Mary for her other capabilities and work in the church graciously accepted the fact that she couldn’t sing well. Her heart seemed to be in the correct place. Though the sounds were off key, there existed an atmosphere of harmony throughout the pews.

When there is discord among members of the congregation, an out-of-balance sensation may not be as noticeable at first. Satan loves to divide, and he must clap his hands in delight when one member has a bone to pick with another. Like the Hatfields and McCoys, church members often take sides and draw lines in the sand. Peter knew this two thousand years ago, and his advice rings true today. Christ calls believers to love each other as family, because we will spend eternity together. Perhaps we should all begin showing a bit more brotherly love while we are here on earth.

Choose someone in your church with who you can be sympathetic and compassionate.

Julie B. Cosgrove is a widowed Christian author and speaker who lives in Fort Worth, Texas. She is involved with women’s and outreach ministries.