Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Seek Peace and Pursue It

Here’s the thing…this world is getting crazier by the second. No doubt amplified by the ease of sharing tragedies on social media outlets. I do see people trying to stomp out the bad with cute little…let’s all post pictures of cute little puppies and kittens….lets watch videos of cute babies laughing hysterically type of posts. Yes, those things do help alleviate the pain and worry momentarily. Do you want to know a tried and true way of easing the pain on a level bigger than a Band-Aid? We are talking heart transplant big. You simply leave the comfort of your cozy and safe nest you have created for yourself and go out and BE THE GOOD that you are longing for!

There is no doubt that we are seeing an increase of evil being displayed all over the place. Evil sells T.V. shows…evil gets more clicks….heart wrenching fear mongering articles get more shares. I have seen people get consumed by headline stories. They have to read every article that is out there. They can’t pull themselves away. I am sure I have even been the victim of overconsumption of dramatic storylines. I have drank the juice too. 

You can get stuck in trying to figure out who to believe. Whose story is accurate? Who was the real victim? Are we treating people unfairly that did nothing to deserve such violence? Do we trust the very law enforcement that has been put in place to protect us? Is that huge family that was once held at high reverence by many now just a false witness? Are those girls being controlled like puppets? Is he really repentant? Are his own children really safe? One question leads to another and pretty soon you find yourself in the middle of that big black caldron that is being stirred by every news and social media outlet there is. 

So how do you get out of that cyclone spinning pot of despair and unknowns? Put down the spoon and walk to higher ground. The top of the hill where you can breathe fresh air again. Where you can gain perspective and see the beauty that is still surrounding you. (Hebrews 3:12-15) Where the noise of the world is silenced and the voice of the one who created the world can be heard. 

You go out into your community and show people love. You ask the person walking down the sidewalk with a limp if you can pray for them to be healed. You listen to someone who most people have told to be quiet. You comfort a friend. You pay for someone’s coffee at the drive through. You write notes of hope and love and leave them randomly where people will find them. You pick up your phone and…CALL someone! You stop sharing the fear and begin sharing the love. You teach people to not live in anxiety and to live in hope. You help pick up your friend when they fall. Help dust them off. Stop pushing them back down, laughing, throwing stones while telling all the world about how stupid they were to allow themselves to fall again. You actually keep a secret when a friend confides in you. Send out handwritten cards of encouragement to people. Buy the greasy grungy guys at the tire shop pizza for lunch after they saved you from your 8th flat tire in nine months.

Still not convinced this is the method to conquer the ways of the world? Well…don’t take my word for it…see for yourself in the book of Romans in your Bible. Jesus gives us clear instructions on how to combat the evil of the world and overcome with good. Stop being offended when every non-Christian calls us hypocrites. Instead…stop….evaluate your actions and be honest. Are you truly being a hypocrite? If so, ask for their forgiveness and correct your actions. Yes, that can be a humbling process, but we are instructed to do so by the One who created us!

Without further ado…let’s read what The Word has to say about behaving like Christians and how to overcome evil;

Romans 12: 9-21
Let love be without hypocrisy. Despise what is evil. CLING to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, enthusiastic in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. 

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peacably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, (Jesus') I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore....if your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."

Philippians 2: 2-4

Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem (respect) others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interest of others.

You can also study: 1 Timothy 1:5, Acts 18:25, Hebrews 3:7-15, Hebrews 10:32, Hebrews 6:10, and many many more. 

"Too often we see peace as merely the absence of conflict, and we think of peacemaking as a passive role. But an effective peacemaker actively pursues peace. He or she builds good relationships, knowing that peace is a by-product of commitment. The peacemaker anticipates problems and deals with them before they occur. When conflicts arise, he or she brings them into the open and deals with them before they grow unmanageable. Making peace can be harder work than waging war, but it results not in death but in life and happiness." From the footnotes of my Life Application Bible, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

How to change the world: 

Be Christ followers
Be peacemakers
Be love doers
Be joy givers
Be gospel news spreaders
Be good news broadcasters
Be rumor enders
Be hope contributors
Be fear slashers
Be truth chasers
Be soul winners
Be good listeners
Be kindness subscribers
Be evil eradicators
Be human respecters



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