The news is full of riots & rage these days. I think as a nation we feel outrage, discouragement, sadness, helplessness, and numbness. I know I have felt all of these since the unrest began.
Peace. Everyone wants it, but it seems to remain elusive.
How do we find peace? How do we find forgiveness when so many people are mistreating their fellow humans and others are retaliating for injustices? Innocent people getting hurt, family businesses are being burned down, and livelihoods destroyed.
Christians are pleading for people to get along and praying for peace to wash over the situation. Political pundits are finger pointing and stirring up anger. Politicians are looking for the angle that will put them ahead in the polls.
The path to peace begins with individuals searching for common ground rather than rushing to the battle ground. But the world doesn’t seem capable to do so.
Meanwhile, people are angry and hurting.
Real people, like you and me, are hurting.
Moms and Dads.
Grandmothers and Grandfathers.
When I look at the images and remember each soul and imagine their lives, I am saddened.
But mainly, I am saddened that the Church in America has not positioned itself to be a leader that brings people together, comforts, and leads them to the Prince of Peace.
Jesus told us to love one another. Before He completed His mission, He told the disciples in John 13:35, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
How well are we doing with this, Church?
How are we to lead a nation to the Prince of Peace when our denominations choose to make camp on the battleground of ideological differences and dismiss the enormous areas of common ground that we share?
There are people that will completely dismiss a pastor or teacher because he says a couple things that they disagree with rather than see that their common ground and love for Jesus far outweighs the minor differences.
There are amazing works being done where congregations work together to feed the hungry, help the poor, and preach the Gospel – but a few groups sit out because they do not like how some of the other present their message.
Fellow Christians, who are we to pounce in judgment on the world’s inability to get along peacefully when we still have not come together as One Body, put aside our differences, and love each other as Jesus commanded us.
Until we put aside bitterness and hatred towards fellow believers, we have no place to ask the world to put aside their anger and rage towards others in their community. Being a peacemaker starts at home. It starts in searching for common ground in our marriages rather than bristling in anger over every slight & difference. It starts in looking at each other through the lens of love rather than the microscope of scrutiny and suspicion. Peace begins with you and me. How can we pray for others to have what we do not allow to rule in our own hearts & homes?
I will continue to pray for peace in Baltimore, our nation, and our world. But I will focus on praying for peace in Christ’s Body and in Christian families: that we would once and for all focus on Him as our common ground and quit running to the battle ground of our petty differences. I pray we would lead the world in the way of peace to the Prince and Provider of Peace, Jesus Christ.
Will you join me?