Gosh, it’s really LOUD out there these days!
The culture shift and political times in which we live emphasize speed, money, and power—and all three escalate the level of divisive rhetoric. “My way or the highway!” “Everybody knows they have no understanding of the problem or interest in a solution.” “Get them out of here. Now.”
Peacemakers, of whom the Lord is particularly fond, are in short supply these days. We’re told that they will be called, “Sons of God.” Some have given up—peace seems so elusive and takes a lot of work! Peace usually follows dialogue and many would rather yell than discuss. We could sure use some Peacemakers.
As this rhetoric increases in tension and volume, it distracts us from the concept and practice of brotherhood. This willingness to want and work for the best for others as well as ourselves is the foundation of peace. Most people would be more likely to hear each other if we focused on just three things!
- Tone down the rhetoric and the disrespect.
Many wish there were a magic mute button to stop all the screamers—they’ve listened all they can to the divisiveness. Any calm person is a Godsend—a maker of peace. Really. You can be one. Smile for a start. Maybe the other guy knows an answer you haven’t even considered. Ask, “I’m interested. How did you reach that conclusion? Do you have time to tell me over coffee?” Christ-followers can listen to anybody. Really. Jesus did. Things are tense these days, but the Bible says, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16) Glorify our Father. Not ourselves.
- Recognize that Jesus wants everyone to come to Him.
Every one. Live for this fact. It’s the truth. There is not a single person on this planet who does not have a need for Jesus, forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and the power of the Holy Spirit to help them to grow into living the abundant life every day. We do. They do. We all do. No matter how a person might be enslaved to works of evil. God knows. God sees. “Go the second mile” for someone. God will use it, and He will direct the outcome. Just make a little space for peace and conversation, brotherhood, and respect. Just don’t feed the shouting match. And pray. Maybe find a simple peaceful story to tell of brotherhood between people like you and people like the other person. The Holy Spirit is there with you even if you have to leave—in peace. Peace Makers talk less publicly and pray more privately. (cf. Matt. 5:43–48)
- Be restrained and humble.
Labels are for cans and bottles, not people. Are any individual members of a group identical to each other? No. Individuals are different (even at a Twins Convention)—God made us that way. Labels are insulting. Consider what we don’t know! Even people who are very highly skilled or knowledgeable in one area may have very little knowledge or discernment in another. Encourage others to tell you how they would solve the problem rather than offering a solution. Even enemies can think about some things together—like the weather, or whether the tea is any good. If they cannot work on a project together, maybe they each know someone they respect who could arbitrate. The Bible says, “Settle your differences even when you are on the way to the court!” (Matt. 5:43–48). Humility is Christlike.
How do you find a Peacemaker? Pray. Look in the mirror. Take a deep breath. Turn off the TV and the phone. Resist the urge to post! Think of the Lord Jesus who promises to be with us no matter where we go. Actually talk to people who have different points of view. Ask questions. Be still. Talk less. Pray more. Resist the impulse of power over another. And when tempted to shout someone down—ask a quiet question: “Tell me how you reached that conclusion.” Then chill. Calm doesn’t mean agreement—it just means respect.
A moment of peace shared between two people is progress. Jesus is there. “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Peace, Brothers and Sisters.