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                Maybe you have noticed the tone of this country. Maybe you have noticed the constant fighting that people who disagree with each other keep doing. Maybe you have noticed how we seem to no longer be okay with disagreeing with each other. It now feels like it is not just about being right, but about destroying anyone who disagrees with us. I am tired of this. I’m tired of the ugliness. I’m tired of the anger. I’m tired of the backbiting, the whining, the complaining, and the hostility. I’m tired of feeling like we are all enemies. I’m tired of seeing us all arguing the same arguments while getting louder each time.

                Do not get me wrong. I do believe that it is okay to have opinions, and to be able to share your opinions. I am just tired of the way that we are doing it. It also bothers me when I see Christians become the antithesis of Christians when people disagree with them. I believe it is time for us to bring back civility into our world. I believe that this should fall at the feet of Christians. If we claim to follow Jesus, then we should act like it. So, how do we do this? I believe that in Romans, Paul gives us the answers:

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

                We must first start by blessing those who are our enemies. We are to bless them instead of cursing them. This is the opposite of how we tend to act. Someone does something bad to me, I want to see them pay. Paul tells us to bless them. This means that we are to ask God to bless their lives. I know this is hard, but this is what the Bible commands.

                 We need to start celebrating people’s successes and mourning with them during their tough times. If we became more supportive and compassionate, we would have less time, or desire, to fight with others. It is hard to get mean and nasty with people you do not know when you are spending your time with the people that need you.

                We are to live in harmony with one another. This does not mean that we must agree with each other, it just means that we do not pick fights with those who are different or believe differently than us. I have some absolute truths in my life that I will not compromise on. This does not mean I cannot be friends with people who feel differently than me (As a point of clarification this about the people we come into contact with, work with, or live near. A church, on the other hand, cannot allow unbiblical truths to become accepted in the church. We must stand for Biblical truths.). People need to know what I believe, but that does not mean that I get to be mean and nasty about my beliefs.

                Ultimately, we are to strive for peace when it is up to us. We have all seen in recent times that there are certain people or groups that will not chose to live in peace with others. There is nothing that we can do to insure peace. Fortunately, most of the people on this planet, do want to live in peace. We let the authorities over us, decide how to handle those who do not seek peace. Those who do seek it, we bring it to them. If this means that we should keep our mouths closed (especially when not involving Jesus), then we keep our mouths closed. Everyone does not need to know what we think about climate change or taxes. If my view on the designated hitter (that is a sports term for those of you who are not sports fans) gets people angry, then I need to keep it to myself.

                Finally, we need to trust in the Lord. Our enemies, if they are our enemies based on us living a Christian life, are God’s enemies. God clearly tells us that he will be the one who brings about vengeance. This should scare us. We should want no one to experience God’s vengeance, but if our lives and words cannot change them, then we let God avenge us. This frees us from having to be God, which we are all incapable of being.

                Let us remember Paul’s commands to us the next time a politician, comedian, athlete, etc., says something we disagree with. Our job is not to get angry and demand that they change their beliefs to be just like ours. Our job is to show and speak Jesus to them. The same goes for the next time a family member, neighbor, coworker, or friend says something that we do not like. Instead of continuing the ugliness of others, let us bring in Jesus. Our goal is to bring people to Jesus, not to simply win arguments or make sure our opinions are heard. If we strove to live more peaceably with others, maybe others would strive to live more peaceably also. Would it not be great if others started noticing that we, as Christians, are making things better for everyone else?

Marty

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