It’s a confusing time to live – and peace is hard to find! Paradoxically, many of us feel quite sure of our (world)views, even as distractions abound, divisions multiply, and dissension broods. In an age similar to the times of the Judges in the Old Testament, everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes.
How then shall we live, when people’s view are being expressed more strongly every day? (did anyone say “trolls”?!)
For those of us who describe ourselves as Christians, where and how does honouring and pleasing God fit? How do we glorify God and sow peace when there is conflict and controversy, when we face difficult and maybe even wrong situations?
As, for example, the Israel Folau saga continues to be played out in the media, it captivates (or incenses) the hearts and minds of many ‘ordinary’ Australians for a variety of reasons – depending on your perspective. Regardless of what your view of this is, the irony is we’re all too easily becoming imprisoned within the limitations of our own views. As Christians, is there a biblical way to see and respond to this controversy and others like it?
Can we and should we share our views? And if yes, how do we do this respectfully? In a God honouring way?
We live with others in this world, we’re not islands. We share this world with those who have differing and opposing views. Some we might regard as ‘antagonists’, but some may in fact claim to hold to the Christian faith.
The biblical writer James has a good and worthwhile thought to contribute to this very real issue:
“… wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” (3:17-18 NIV)
Jesus, the God-man, personified this wisdom from heaven. When he faced controversy, was wrongfully accused, or called out wrong, he still spoke truth in love, perfectly! How we’d love to be able to do that all the time, hunh?
Can we really be like Jesus?
Jesus sets us an example and gives both reason and motivation to speak the truth in love, especially when others don’t! We don’t have to rely on our own knowledge and understanding, but have the Holy Spirit’s help to actually access the ‘wisdom that comes from heaven’, aiming to honour and please God (Luke 12:12) We can glorify him by the way we respond to difficult situations and difficult people. We can actually be peacemakers, sowing peace in a field of conflict and controversy.
Next time you find yourself in a difficult conversation (or asked to comment on one) it might be worthwhile taking a moment to ponder how, as a Christ follower you can honour and please God… to ponder how you can sow peace in the words that you say and the way that you say them.
Then we “stick out” for our graciousness, love and respect – and to breathe grace in controversial situations. It’s worth considering.
This article was written by Steve Wickham and Li Ai Gamble. Steve is the PeaceWise Kids Content and Curriculum Manager and is also a PeaceWise trainer. Li Ai is one of the foundation PeaceWise Board members and is also the PeaceWise National Ministry Co-ordinator.