God places a lot of value in those will both make and maintain peace.
In Matthew 5:9 Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God“. The Amplified Bible says, “Blessed are the makers and maintainers of peace“. Clearly God places a lot of value in both making, and maintaining, peace. The sentiment of Matthew 5:9 is echoed in Romans 12:18, “Do the best you can to live in peace with everyone” (Easy to Read Version) and many Christians seem to live by this verse. Which is a good thing – up to a point. Because the verse says, “Do the best you can……“, other translations say, “As far as it depends on you….”. This is not a commandment such as, “Forgive anything you may have against anyone” (Mark 11:25, Good News Translation). In that instance, Jesus told us to forgive. He did not tell us to try to forgive, if it’s possible (see my post, ‘Don’t Leave The Door Open‘ for a brief look at forgiveness). But keeping the peace is different, if we are to put God and His way of doing things first place, keeping the peace will not always be possible.
It is all to easy to keep quiet and say nothing.
The reason that it will not always be possible to keep the peace – if you put God first in everything – is because speaking the truth is more important then keeping the peace and when you speak the truth, the chances are some people will get upset. There are those who argue that it is not loving to upset people. Look at the example of parenting: Some parents will let their children do pretty much what they want, their children rarely get told off. But that is not being a loving parent. A loving parent will reprimand their children, a loving parent will be put limits on what their children can and cannot do. A loving parent will be prepared to upset their children sometimes, because they know that it is for their own good. It is all to easy to keep quiet and say nothing in order to maintain the peace – but that is not a loving attitude. That is, at its core, a selfish attitude, because it’s based on not wanting to cause arguments – because we want people to like us and get along with us.
Being tolerant means keeping quiet whilst Satan keeps people bound.
Let me give you some examples of how speaking the truth will almost certainly upset some people. I have written previously on the subject of homosexuality (‘The Homosexuality Issue‘) – some people got upset that I wasn’t more tolerant. The problem is, being tolerant means keeping quiet whilst Satan keeps people bound. I have also written on the subject of healing, stating that faith is vital in receiving healing (‘Why Doesn’t God Heal Everyone?‘). Certain people didn’t like that either – “How dare you suggest that someone isn’t healed because of lack of faith!” I have also written other posts which have upset people, but whilst it is never my intention to upset people, it doesn’t bother me if people get upset, because I know that I am speaking in the truth – in love. I read an excellent blog post recently called, ‘Jesus Is Your One Way Ticket To Heaven! Don’t Deny Him! Get On Board!‘. Not surprisingly it upset some people – despite the fact that Jesus IS the only way to Heaven and without Him people are headed for hell. Comments included: “The tone is arrogant” & “The Lord Jesus is not a ticket. He is the Savior”. Jesus said He was the door, despite not being a literal door – so why the upset? Why the offense? It is because the truth offends people, it causes upset.
Jesus upset people.
Then of course there’s that guy from the Bible who seemed to have a knack of upsetting people. What’s the name? Oh yes, Jesus! Jesus had the very nature of God, Jesus was consistently walking in love, and yet because Jesus also spoke the truth in a loving, but uncompromising manner, Jesus upset people. If some of today’s Christians had been with Jesus they would probably have said things like:
- “Jesus can’t say that – doesn’t He know it’s not politically correct?”
- “Why does He need to upset people all the time, can’t He be more tolerant?”
- “If Jesus keeps on talking like this, He’s going to get Himself killed one of these days”
- “Now, Jesus, you’ve got a great ministry with all the healings and the miracles, but you need to be more careful about what you say. Some of the pharisees in particular have been quite upset with how you’ve spoken about them – it’s not a very loving attitude”
It will not always be possible to maintain the peace.
As Christians, we need to accept that without compromising what we believe, it will not always be possible to maintain the peace. We need to accept that, at times, even other Christians will get upset at us, possibly even very angry at us. But the same thing happened to Jesus and to the apostles. The message of the Gospel is, by nature, potentially offensive. Isaiah 8:14 in the Modern English Version says that God is a sanctuary, but at the same time He is also a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. Determine today that you will never back off from speaking the truth in love, and that you will never compromise.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
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