you ever read a friend's letter where every sentence seemed to end
with an exclamation point? Sometimes overused, exclamation points
are intended to express strong feelings, such as excitement. They
may indicate that something is being shouted, like, "Look over there!"
or, "Watch out!"
In God's letter to us, the Bible,
there aren't many verses that end with an exclamation point. Think
about it--God's been around for eternity. He's seen it all. Many
of the things we find exciting probably seem quite commonplace to
But in Psalm 133:1, we find something
that God notices with excitement. He calls our attention to it as
well. "Look at those brothers and sisters who agree! Instead of
fighting, they're acting as though they actually like one
another! How great is that?"
You have to admit, God has seen it
all, but brothers and sisters who don't argue and fight are pretty
unique. How many families do you know where only kind words
are spoken between siblings? Could that be said of your family?
There's another application to this
verse as well, and that's within the family of God. Other Christians
are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we owe loyalty to them
as well. But instead of being a place where everyone can feel loved
and accepted, many church youth groups are broken into cliques,
punctuated by arguments and unkind words. As a member of your church
family, it is your job to try to preserve the unity that
will attract God's notice, presence and participation.
Susan experienced the flipside of
this verse while attending a large youth service in the gymnasium
at her church. Before the service began, she and her friends began
to argue about which player had scored the most points at their
school's basketball game the previous night. Susan, who had a secret
crush on the point guard, insisted that it was him (she'd been keeping
track during the game). The others were sure it was the team's captain,
who played center and seemingly always scored the most.
Since no one would believe her, Susan
angrily flounced off and sat at a distance from her friends. She
didn't know the teens sitting around her, but she didn't think it
mattered--at first. Then a girl in front of Susan turned around,
gave her a scornful look and said something to the girl beside her
that Susan didn't
understand. The girls in front of her both laughed,
looked back at Susan, then laughed again. She heard them repeat
the strange word.
angry from before, Susan spoke up, "What is so funny?"
"Nothing," the girls replied, laughing
"Then why are you laughing?"
Even while laughing, the girls had
a cold, mean look in their eyes. One replied, "No reason," inserting
the strange word and looking right at Susan while saying it. "What
are they saying?"
Susan turned for help to the girls
beside her, but they just giggled. "It's Spanish, but we're not
sure what it means."
Service started, but the girls took
every opportunity to turn and taunt Susan with the strange word.
By the end of service, she'd had enough.
"Stop it!" she hissed, pushing
the first girl's shoulder to turn her back towards the front. Instantly,
the girl sprang at Susan, smacking her face hard. Susan stood, shocked,
as youth workers came running to the scene.
The adults brought both Susan and
the other girl to the back of the gym and asked why they were fighting.
"Fighting!" Susan couldn't
believe she'd been in a fight. Fighting wasn't something girls like
her did. It was something low-class people did, like the ones on
the kind of talk shows you have to flip past real fast, trying not
to see exposed body parts or hear screamed curse words. Yet here
she was, sorting through the aftermath of a fight. How did this
Susan saw her friends waiting to the
side as all the other teens filed out of the gym. She knew they
felt sorry for her. Why had she argued with them in the first place?
Suddenly the petty disagreement they'd had didn't seem all that
important. When it came to the big things, Susan knew her friends
would be there for her, yet she'd let a small disagreement come
"I'm sorry for getting mad at you
guys earlier," Susan told her friends later, "it doesn't really
matter who scored the most points. I thought we couldn't
be friends any more unless you admitted that I was right, but I
found out today that your friendship is more important that winning
Peace restored, the friends exited
the gym, arm in arm.