by Jim Gordon
To be at peace with all people, including believers and non-believers, it seems almost impossible in our world today. We have so many different thoughts and ideas, different denominations, interpretations and beliefs and all the different religions. It makes you wonder how it is possible to be at peace with everyone?
The dictionary describes peace as freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions; harmony in personal relations.
I have been thinking recently about how some Christian people act towards those who see things differently. I do not know why we can be so mean at times. We feel we have to prove our point to others and stand our ground when it comes to doctrine and interpretation of the bible. I am not sure why we feel it is our job to be the morality police. Why do we feel the need to force our views, beliefs and interpretations on others?
Rather than base our lives on following doctrine and interpretation, we are to follow the example of Jesus. He said to love God and love one another. There is no way to be at peace with others without loving them. We cannot love others without the Spirit of love living within us.
Often times when we meet new people, or even when we get together with current friends, if we could just see the person as a human being without any labels, knowing that God loves them, it is easier to be at peace with them. The problem often seems to be when conversations get onto the subject of politics or religion, things can get divisive. We quickly forget the good things and only focus on our differences. It is very sad to let politics, religion or a number of other labels cloud the good things we see in people.
I think what God is saying about being at peace with all is that we are to live in harmony with others, not allowing any oppressive thoughts or emotions to take control of our feelings toward them. In other words, we live in love. Just because someone does not interpret the bible the same way we do or go to the same church we do or does not go to church at all, we should realize that in regard to other believers, we are all wanting to love God and do what is pleasing to God. We are to accept one another in love and respect the fact that God is working in different ways in people. Just because it is not what we are used to does not mean it is not of God.
In regard to non-believers, we do not need to condemn them or force our beliefs on them. We are to let them see the love of God by the way we treat others. They do not need someone beating them down or twisting their arms to get them to believe like us. We are to love them as they are and let the Spirit do any work that needs to be done in their lives just as the Spirit does in our lives.
If we believers could understand that we are responsible for ourselves in the way we live for God. We are not responsible to live the way others do or the way others think we should. We are to allow the Spirit to work in our lives and follow the Spirit on the path we are on.
Our responsibility is to do what Jesus said, love God and love others. We are to accept them for who they are and pray that the Holy Spirit will teach us and guide us in the way we are to go. We are not responsible to force others to see things the way we see things. We are to love one another and accept one another as they are. Only by living in love can we live at peace with all.
Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: email@example.com