Harmony is a quality that helps maintain spiritual strength. In the workplace, the community, or home, harmonious relationships are less stressful and more productive to whatever the end that partnership should produce.
The Apostle Paul advises, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” Romans 12:18 (NIV).
When conflict exists in our relationships it draws our energy and consumes the peace that otherwise would allow us to focus on the purpose at hand. Being at peace with others allows us to give our attention and energy to others and whatever that partnership should be about.
Sometimes conflict can’t be avoided and sometimes it can’t be easily resolved. In this verse, Paul says “If it is possible” because it is not always possible to be in harmony with all people. For instance, light cannot be in harmony with darkness. A victim cannot be in harmony with their attacker. If harmony is not possible, the next best thing may be to remove yourself or limit yourself from association with the conflict.
Harmony doesn’t require one to abandon their identity or yield themselves over to another as a doormat, but it does allow us to see things from the other’s perspective, without judgment. When a team or a group or even a partner are in harmony they are usually functioning in respect and submission to the roles assigned, and that is giving consideration to the other person’s perspective.
Oftentimes conflict ensues because the other person’s point-of-view isn’t considered or is discounted as having no value. Harmony, on the other hand, ensues when we pause long enough to consider how the other person perceives the situation.
I think the point of the verse is that we ought to maintain harmony with others if we have some common ground and we are working toward the same purpose. The best way I know how to illustrate this is to consider a workplace environment. We may not agree with everything a co-worker stands for, but we can find harmony in cooperating toward the employment task we’ve been assigned.
If we nurture criticism or dwell on conflict without regard for harmony, the negativity which that will foster will soon crumble that working relationship and end any benefit it could have brought about.
Being in harmony with others is focusing on the goal we hold together, not personality differences or mismatched beliefs or idiosyncrasies that are outside of the basis for the relationship.
Harmony is an objective to live by, if at all possible.