Develop a healthy and robust community,
one that is centered around God -- alone.
When treating each other with honor and dignity,
you'll reap the harvest you richly have sown.
In peace through the Spirit; together in unity;
make every effort to live in this way.
If one of you errors and sins with impunity,
gently pursue them without a delay.
Choose truth over pretense and speak with sincerity;
we are Christ's body, connected as one.
When we favor lying instead of integrity,
we cheat ourselves when its all said and done.
Speak gently to women of years soft and motherly,
treat the old men as the father you knew.
Engage with young men in a manner that's brotherly,
maidens as if they were sisters to you.
Do not look away, hoping problems will disappear,
deal with them openly out in the light;
assuming the issue's so small to act cavalier,
thinking it surely will turn out alright.
You cannot ignore those whose lives are promiscuous,
flippant to God's ways or rude to their friends.
Their greed and their drunkenness can't be continuous,
with love and firmness it all has to end.
When coming together, be clothed in humility;
God shuns the proud -- gives the humbled his grace.
Turn rumor and gossip around to civility;
speak in their absence as you would their face.
We must bear the "burden" of being considerate;
empathy's easier shared with one heart.
Devotion to family is often deliberate;
practice makes perfect since love is an art.
This poem won second place for the April 2020 poetry contest