I love a good discussion with a friend over a steaming cup of chai, but since I can’t gather all of you at a comfortable cafe, I’ll have to be content with this little corner of the Internet.
I want to thank each and every person who has come to these coffee chats and commented. I have thoroughly enjoyed your insights and inspiration! Thank you for your time.
This week, I want to talk about peace and conflict.
Where would the world be if England had rolled over and played dead when Hitler assaulted them with his Blitzkrieg?
Where would the world be if the United States of America had chosen to turn a blind eye to the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941?
Where would we be if Jesus Christ went along with the folks who wanted to make him an earthly king?
If there were never resistance to evil, there would never be peace.
Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
James 4.4, ESV
I’m going to step out on a limb here, and I beseech your patience and mercy.
The apathy within the church towards sin makes my blood boil.
So often, people become “members” of their local church so they can have friends or the approval of family, but they don’t care much about the approval of God. They want to keep doing whatever it was they were doing before—fornication, adultery, porn-addiction, alcoholism, selfishness, greed, pride, hate—and the people in the church, not wanting to be cast as “judgmental” go along with their sin so as not to create waves. They don’t want to push them away, so they remain silent. “Let’s not preach about selfishness, it’s too negative.” “Don’t rebuke brother so-and-so for causing so much trouble in the church or else he might leave.”
When Jesus resisted the calls to be made a king, he put himself into conflict with the people and with the leaders. They didn’t want the will of God, they wanted earthly triumph and vengeance against the Romans. He engaged in conflict in order to make peace with God on our behalf. Until he died, we had no way to be in that state of peace.
The church gets corrupted when it decides that it doesn’t want to engage in conflict with worldly desires—pride, selfishness, greed, conformity—to remain at peace with God.
There is no Switzerland in the war with Satan. There is God’s side and there is Satan’s side.
There is no neutral territory.
The point is this: Peace cannot be achieved without conflict.
In Matthew 5:9, in Jesus famous “Beatitudes” he says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
James also writes this:
Who is wise and understanding among you?
By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
I am not someone who takes pleasure in conflict. I like harmony.
And yet, I don’t often feel harmonious with the church. More often than not, I feel anger and frustration. I feel overwhelming vexation by acceptance of sin, weakness of leadership, acquiescence to stupidity “in the name of peace,” and compromising truth “in the name of unity”.
Am I wrong to feel this way? Am I at odds with God?
If I am right in my feelings, what in the world am I supposed to do about it? Simply stewing in my anger doesn’t help anybody.
How can I help my brothers and sisters in Christ without sinning towards them and towards my God?
How can I be a peacemaker?