Saturday, May 1, 2010

What Are We Giving Up For The Sake Of Peace?

We live in a world of compromise and are a people of compromise. It sounds like such a dirty word to Christians but is the order of the day to people outside of the Body of Christ. To the world it means to find a middle ground, a solution that will meet some of the desires of everyone involved. It always means less then the best, which is why lovers of God dislike the word. We say we believe in the existence of black and white, right and wrong, good and evil in life. Yet, what we consider to be such an ugly word is something most Christians practice every day, perhaps without realizing it.

I am probably one of the worse offenders when it comes to compromise. I hate hurting people's feelings or being put in an awkward situation. I am constantly being careful of the words I speak and the words I don't. I tiptoe around situations in order to avoid offending and sometimes I will pretend I just don't know about it to avoid it. We sometimes use Scripture in an abusive way to justify these compromises, such as :

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:17-18)

We misrepresent the "If it is possible" and the "as far as it depends on you" by thinking that it is something we have to do at all cost. It is actually not saying this; it is telling us to live at peace without compromising. We have to keep it in context with the council of the entire Word of God which tells us that as believers we must stand our ground:

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)

What do you think this means? We are to stand in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and not allow evil to prevail over the ground we have been given to hold; our family, friends, church. This is our sphere of influence. Jesus told us to love everyone, to be kind to everyone, to do good without bias but he did not tell us to compromise on the difference between good and evil. Now, because we are ambassadors of the Truth in this darkened world Jesus warns us:

All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Mark 13:13)

Jesus gave plenty of warning of persecution due to belonging to him because he represents truth and righteousness, and the world does not want to be reminded of right and wrong. Our society calls on us to compromise and for the sake of peace we do. Yet, this is what James warned:

You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? (James 4:4-5)

Adulterers? Enemy of God? Pretty strong stuff but that is where any compromise of the truth leads us. We should not be surprised at the world right now. People are very confused as the world slips into greater darkness. They resent anyone who seems to know what they are doing and who stand for something. Persecution should be on the rise. The demand for Christians to compromise should be getting stronger. Intolerance for what we stand for should be leading the world to hate us. And it is. It is happening and we don't even see it because so often, as it happens, we compromise.

My friends, we love everyone but we cannot tolerate evil and this seems to be something the world can neither understand nor accept. We can love our enemy without becoming our enemy but the world believes that love must mean so much more then being kind and doing good. For the world, love must also mean to accept and we cannot accept evil. We must stand our ground against evil.

To love the world as Jesus loves the world does not mean we forsake Jesus or his instructions. To love the world is not to be friends with the world because we can't be friends. We serve only one Master and to him we have been called to be true and loyal. We love, we show kindness to our enemy but we do not become our enemy. We stand in truth and resist evil. We represent the Light in a world that is falling further into darkness. Do we love Jesus Christ enough to become targets of hatred?

In my next blog we will examine how we can remain pure and righteous while living in a cesspool of sin and degradation and still love those who hate us.

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