Friday, July 13, 2018

The peace you seek in a warring world

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash
Spend any time watching social media and you soon discover that the world seems to be going crazy.
There are sides in everything. Politics has its left and right. Church has its fundamentals and liberals. There are feminists and misogynists. Pro-lifers and those for pro-choice. Those for and against same-sex marriage. People who believe in euthanasia and those who don’t. This article is nothing about any of these issues.
It’s about the peace you seek amid a warring world.
Perhaps you are tired of the constant war of words.
Maybe you cannot bear conflict,
but you also cannot let it exist.
Social media is an unprecedented public square. Because, if you’re reading this you’re most likely connected to social media and will not be able to escape many kinds of upsetting discussions.
But it isn’t just social media that embroils us in disgust for how people treat each other, and how they treat us if we choose to speak up, it’s prevalent in the real face-to-face world too. Sometimes we share a view without considering what others might think and end up upsetting them or becoming upset ourselves. From time to time there are events that sweep us away on a wearying tide of grief simply because we didn’t see conflict coming.
Quickly emotions boil, and just as reputations that are built over 20 years are destroyed in five seconds, skewed emotions in perilous moments lay once-committed relationships waste.
Suddenly a wedge is driven deeply into the heart of persons who once loved each other so much.
Is there a way to avoid all this? Is there a wisdom we can deploy that helps us circumvent disaster?
There is, but it has to be God’s way. This peacemaking way, that not everybody can agree with is the way. It’s only those who are committed to war who hate the peacemaking way.
But love superintendents everything.
It has been said…
‘If someone treats you bad,
just remember that there is
something wrong with them, not you.
Normal people don’t go around
destroying other people.’
It is worthwhile remembering that whilst this adage fits, it’s no good if we hold to it, yet others experience us as being destructive toward them. We cannot be seekers of peace for ourselves yet destroyers of others.
Peace for ourselves requires we achieve peace with others.
It is hard to live at peace with ourselves if we’re warring with others. Yet at the same time it is a wise thing to protect ourselves from the trauma others would inflict on us.
How do we live at peace in this world that seems to be more-and-more violent? We don’t need to engage in the fight. We don’t need to have our say. We can pray; for the right time and opportunity to speak peace; compelling words of wisdom in any age; in the meantime, acceptance for what we cannot change at present.
If we insist that no one can fight us,
no one can fight us.
We can say with the peaceful strength of joy,
no one can assail us
as we assail nobody.
If we insist that ours is to be a joyful presence,
our influence is peacefully pervasive.
We can aim to deliver a special kind of love to those who are full of hate;
… kindness of heart for vitriol of tongue;
… a steady mind with eyes of life for the angry heart bent on maiming;
… a poise of spirit resilient with Christ’s hope for the devil’s despair in a person bitter beyond redemption.

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