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Purity 101

Purity and Unity

 

Psalm 133:1
"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!"


     Have 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 Him.
     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.
     Already angry from before, Susan spoke up, "What is so funny?"
     "Nothing," the girls replied, laughing even harder.
     "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 happen?
     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 between them.
     "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 any argument."
     Peace restored, the friends exited the gym, arm in arm.

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