Sunday, March 30, 2008

Settle the tongue, settle the heart.

Peace begins in your own heart and it is the heart that transcends the tongue. The heart even transcends the mind, or at least it should. We trap ourselves into believing that if all the smart people in the world cannot find ways to agree, the simpletons must surely be in real trouble. The sad and contrived rhetoric is that peace can never be achieved by the witless. That is our trap. Do me a favor and slam that door shut and let’s start over; today.

I am so tired of hearing anyone who says something along the lines of “I don’t support the war but I support our troops”. Do you have any idea how ridiculous that statement is? Here’s your definition…supporting the war means you are OK with the killing of anyone involved, regardless of their affiliation. You might as well have a gun in your hands and start shooting. Does that sound harsh to you? Please take offense now, or at least relate and pick a side, the people on the fence are getting nervous due to the instability of the fence.

If you are against the war you would like to see people live in harmony and work together for the common good of all mankind, again regardless of their affiliation. I cannot begin to relate to anyone fighting in this war. I can understand their positions but relating is a whole different matter. I can agree with the concept of defending our borders against attack and defending our freedoms against those that would fight to take them away, but kill someone for it?

So where does the idea of supporting our troops come into view? It is the politically correct and often hyper sensitive way to suggest that we want peace but are too afraid to say it for sounding like an anti-war sympathizer.

I have no ill will towards sympathizers of this war and our military. We are all entitled to our opinions, including yours truly. I have had many a long talk with God about this one and trust me, the chat is ongoing. I am constantly at odds with friends and relatives about this subject. God continues to lead me to scriptures that remind me that we were not meant for this world, that we were meant to work together and that war is not the answer, we must “fight” for peace and seek community as a fellowship of believers.

One of my new favorites that God showed me recently is from James. It says, “Post this at the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger.” (James 1:19-20)

Every week someone else seems to pop up in my peripheral view as being a promoter of peace. Today I listened to someone else suggest that it is the intent of the heart and that if we are Spirit led we will indeed seek peace among our fellow man. On the radio station I listen to there was a blurb about being a “peacemaker” as Jesus was and prescribed in Matthew 5:9. The relative story was about all the people you come in contact with that are so combative, they want to argue at every chance. We all know someone like that. I used to be like that. I remember why too, it was easy. Most people I came in contact with seemed obtuse and defective. Back then I was living my life for me and no one else. If your opinion didn’t line up with mine, I was ready to take up arms and fight if necessary.

Time and especially my walk with God have shown me otherwise. A life spent being defensive and angry is no life, no one wins and everyone loses. Today we have half a nation of people just like that, maybe more than half. All of them ready to take up arms to “defend” our nation and our freedoms. Back in Jesus’ day, followers of Him were persecuted daily and knew the dangers associated with being a “Christian”. Today we take those dangers for granted and instead say it is our right and a freedom that we enjoy because of so many brave men and women who have died defending our great country. Jesus died for my sins and set me free from those chains, that is my freedom.

The real freedom is knowing you are free to allow Jesus into your heart to change you forever. You are free to speak His name among the masses and know that God smiles when you do. You are free to be a son or daughter of the most high God and as a peacemaker you will be blessed. Jesus said it this way,

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5: 10-12)

This will be a constant battle for me I am sure. I pray regularly that the Spirit will lead and direct my thoughts and keep the intentions of my heart pure so that my actions will bring glory to God as Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 10:31-33. I have two brothers, a sister and an earthly father that I know do not have a personal relationship with Christ. I think one of those brothers may have been close at one point but now I am unsure based on recent conversations. Peace is the least of their concerns and I see the battles they face daily. Without a proper perspective on eternity all they have is what is in front of them now in this world. It becomes easy to “go to war” to protect what seems precious to them, regardless of its’ earthly origin.

If you are inclined to fight for something then fight for peace, and not with a gun or a knife but with the power of the Holy Spirit as your weapon. In the meantime, pray for your enemies and speak well of them, keep them in your thoughts. This is nothing new but I know how unsettling it is.

The trick is to first settle the heart, then the tongue will follow.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


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