You know the song, “Red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in his site. Jesus loves the little children of the Republican Party”. NO! That’s not how it goes!
“Jesus loves the little children of the WORLD!”
Fighting for What?
Christians fail when we spend more time and energy complaining, fighting leadership, arguing to prove points or belittling others because they have different opinions and convictions. Jesus would have never done that. He would helped them, healed them, eaten with them, and welcomed them no matter if they were red or blue, rich or poor, righteous or the worst sinner. He would have never posted rants on facebook or made fun of people, whether they seemingly deserved it or not. He would never share the latest crime or someone’s worst moment caught on camera and posted on youtube (scripture says love COVERS sin, not reveals it). Jesus respected authority and simply focused on loving and helping people.
“Here’s one thing I am sure of after yesterday: we can not continue to operate as if half of the country does not exist.” – Michael Wear
We are still a nation under God. We are an extended family of all colors, passions, financial brackets, beliefs and needs. We may not all share the same convictions but we are all important to Him so we must become important to each other. We must bring respect back.
We need to learn what love really looks like. THAT is worth fighting for. Not conditional love but agape love – love despite differences, inconvenience or conflict. Loving others because GOD loves others – and He even loves me. Loving and respecting our leaders, even if we don’t agree with them or like them because that is what God teaches us to do. We are to go even further and love even our worst enemy.
“I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up.” Matthew 5:43-48 MSG
Where is Peace?
We live in a time when we need peace more than ever, but peace is not the absence of conflict or elimination of enemies. That is division. Peace is the willingness to sacrifice in order to show God’s love and live in UNITY despite of differences and diversity. That is when unity is most beautiful.Peace costs and we have to be willing to pay the cost and literally STRIVE daily to live in peace. The cost may be forgiveness. The cost may be being uncomfortable or suffering persecution. The cost may be holding your tongue or the work it will take to get along with even the most unlovable. However you look at it, peace WILL cost.
“…STRIVE for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace.” – 2 Corinthians 13:11 NIV
No one taught this better than Jesus. He brought Jews and Gentiles together despite massive hostility through His love, which would have seemed impossible before He showed up. He could have fixated on their stupidity and wrong thinking, and led with correction and condemnation, but instead He preached another message of love, forgiveness, mercy, kindness and obedience to God. He inspired us to want to be better by His own example, not by finger pointing, blaming or accusing people.
He never argued with people. He never even defended himself. While His mere existence may have created division by those who were threatened by Him and all the changes that followed His path, He never fueled it or tried to get people on His side or to see His view.He created unity despite of diversity, joining educated and uneducated, admired religious leaders and despised tax collectors, wealthy and poor, righteous and the most sinful people of all.
God was like a magnet and was the glue that stuck everyone together for a greater good going far beyond right or left, black or white or Jew or Gentile. Religion and democracy pale in the comparison of the importance of eternity and loving one another. Once we get right with God, it is so much easier to get right with others despite our differences because we have respect and love for one another as God’s creation; His kids, equally valuable and cherished by our Father.
“We are not at peace with others, because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not a peace with God.” – Thomas Merton
I am personally praying to learn and practice being a peacemaker. To demonstrate love and to show people their value no matter who they are or how opposed to me or my values they are. Everyone doesn’t earn respect but we can show respect, mercy, love and grace because I didn’t earn any of that myself, yet God has granted those things for me – even when I was the ugliest and at my worst.We have all failed. We are all human. We all matter and we can all learn to forgive, love and respect one another because this is pleasing to God:
“The wisdom that comes from above is first of all pure. Then it is PEACEFUL, gentle, obedient, filled with mercy and good deeds, impartial, and sincere. A harvest that has God’s approval comes from the peace planted by peacemakers.” – James 3:17-18 GW
Let us pledge to be peacemakers everywhere we go. The world needs it more than ever. WE need it.
This post was inspired by a teaching entitled “Blessed are the Peacemakers”. Click HERE to listen to an amazing message on Peacemakers by Jon Tyson from Church of the City, New York. www.church.nyc