Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Peace among men

Disclaimer: This one's pretty much for the Christians

Before I get started on this, I thought it would be awesome to include this from They have some great stuff over there, so you should definitely go check them out!

I'll be the first to admit that I have a deep, deep desire to be right most of the time. I think it comes from the fact that I was never really good at sports, so I tried to be better in the knowledge arena. I like my church, I like what we believe, and I feel very comfortable that we're doing what the Bible says.

But rather be comfortable in that, I became entrapped by the idea that everyone else is 100% wrong-- and let me tell you, if you let yourself get entrapped by that idea, Satan will use it to ruin any kind of witness, or even friendship that you have with anyone. Although you may not agree with everything that others have to say, chances are you agree about something. The key is to find that common ground first, and learn to respect that person's viewpoint on that issue (I mean, he must have good taste in one area, if he shares it with you right?!)

In no way am I claiming to have all the answers, nor am I an authority on this issue, but as I look through the life and times of Jesus, the one thing I don't notice is Him walking into someone house with the Old Testament Scrolls, beating them over the head with them. Jesus understood that He would not be accepted into the lives of those He was trying to reach unless He was approachable.

Take a look at Mark 5. Jesus miraculously interacts with three separate people, all three of which seek Him out. One was a demon possessed man, one was an old woman, and one, a synagogue ruler. All three of them knew that their only hope was Jesus, and all three of them were allowed to approach Him.

How many people know you are a Christian? Are you a Christian who is approachable? And how many people today know that their only hope is Jesus?

If the Christian community today expects to reach out and affect this world, we need to come to some conclusions.

1.) We're called to act:

Matthew 28:18-20
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

2.) We cannot expect people to recognize Jesus as an authority in their lives, nor will they necessarily respect you or scripture.

Luke 21:12-17
"But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me.

3.) We need to love them anyway!

Luke 6:27-31
"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you."

4.) We need to become known by our fruits

Luke 6:43-45
"No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks."

5.) Live out your faith, be at peace with all men, and love each other

Galatians 5:6
"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."

To be clear, I'm not advocating any sort of "watered-down" Christianity. Stand up for what you believe in, but realize that this is a process of love and of time. Invest in the lives of those around you, for that's what Christ did for us, while we were still sinners.

Let me hear any stories you have of either past or present successes in the comments!