Our world is marred by violence, greed, and all the fruits of sin. What this world desperately needs is a revelation of Jesus and his peaceable kingdom. But how do we live at peace in a world of hostile Herods and Pharisees?
Jesus said, “When you go someplace to preach the good news, let your peace rest on that place” (Matt. 10:12). This seems an odd thing to say, but it makes perfect sense if you grew up watching Star Trek.
In the Star Trek universe, visitors from faraway places would arrive with unknown intentions. If they said, “We come in peace,” you knew all would be well. Their intentions were peaceable.
That’s how it is with us. Wherever we go, we go in peace. We don’t come swinging swords or firing photon torpedoes. We have no interest in picking sides or starting fights. Instead, we are presenting a radical alternative to anything this world offers, namely, a message of hope from another kingdom.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Rom. 12:18)
For too long Christianity has been associated with the unfortunate image of the bloodied crusader. But the true sons of God are peacemakers (Matt. 5:9). Our aim is to live at peace with everyone. When that’s not possible, it may be time to move on, change the subject, change the conversation, perhaps even change towns (see Matt. 10:14).
I occasionally get messages like this:
Paul, I’ve come to realize that God really loves me and he’s forgiven all my sins. I was so excited to share this at church, but the pastor stood up afterwards and shot me down. He said I was presenting an unbalanced version of grace. Later he sent me a message saying I wasn’t to speak about grace again. What’s going on?
What’s going on is a wedge of truth is beginning to divide “father from son and mother from daughter.” It’s not pleasant, but it happens. Those who have seen grace can’t unsee it, and those who haven’t can’t relate.
The temptation will be to engage in debate, but little good will come of it. I never knew anyone who was argued into an understanding of grace. You essentially have two options: Stop talking about grace or start a new conversation someplace else.
Of course the best approach is to ask the Holy Spirit, “How can I reveal the peace of heaven in this situation?” This is what distinguishes the sons of God from others—we make peace where others make war.
Extracted from The Gospel in Twenty Questions, chapter 9, “How do I endure to the end?”
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