Peace, The Greeting Of His Flock
Just when I thought the election cycle could not get any uglier, the stage darkened even more this past week. Twitter feeds, facebook posts cry out in moral outrage, although most moral outrage is selective depending on which candidate you prefer. I’m not writing to defend one candidate over the other. I think we all know the true colors of each. However, I think this election has become a spotlight shedding true light on the disunity that has crippled and now possibly, corrupted the body of Christ.
“Every idle word which we think so little of betrays our lack of respect for our neighbour, and shows that we place ourselves on a pinnacle above him and value our own lives higher than his. The angry word is a blow struck at our brother, a stab at his heart: it seeks to hit, to hurt and destroy,” Dietrich Bonhoeffer once penned in the Cost of Discipleship.
Blogs, tweets, and posts from those who call themselves followers of the Christ, are laden with pride, arrogance, and disgust at other believers with opposing talking points, with the attempt to place ourselves on a pinnacle above. Whether or not our motive is to make ourselves look a little bit better than our brother, or to be the first in line to throw the stone, the end result is destruction.
The thief comes to destroy. And we make it easier for him to do so each day.
Over and over again, the Word of God shows that the kingdom of God is one of peace. Not only that, when the early church would greet one another, the first words to come out of their mouths were “Grace and Peace.”
Grace to you, brother, even if I don’t agree with you
Peace to you, sister, even if we don’t see eye to eye.
“His kingdom is one of peace, and the mutual greeting of his flock is a greeting of peace.”
Where has this unity gone today? We are at odds with each other even before the greeting.
We no longer have to look each other in the eye. We just throw our words as daggers and hope the arrow hits the mark. And most of the time, it does. We strike hard. We dig deep. But might we be digging deeper and deeper until we sell out our own souls? This is the same question I keep asking myself.
We disgrace our brother in the eyes of the world, and forget the consequence of doing so.
Again Bonhoeffer says, “...when he publicly insults or slanders him, he is guilty of murder and forfeits his relation to God.”
Might every insult we fling, cause a little more erosion in our walk with Christ? Like Hurricane Matthew sweeping through the Florida coast, the destruction to our souls may not be seen in the first few hours, but later the full impact becomes evident. Bit by bit we erode, and we no longer live in harmony with fellow man or God.
In Matthew 18, we are told to not even bring our worship to the altar if our brother has something against us. We become hypocrites when we secretly despise our brother, but bring our lip service to God.
For those who call ourselves followers of Christ, we cannot separate worship from our tweets, posts, or speeches. Our selective moral pride, our disdain for those who oppose our choice, forfeits the peace of God. In our own lives, and those around us.
The world is crying out for someone to show them a better way. Might it be the body of Christ? Might we learn the greeting of His flock: Peace, peace, peace. And grace. Grace for those who disagree with us.
Let us examine our hearts to see “whether we have tried to win popularity by falling in with the world’s hatred, its contempt and its contumely.”
Popularity is a meager price to pay for peace.