Posted by: Bob Clark | May 24, 2007

Building Credibility

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).

Seems like everywhere you turn you find conflict. Look at some recent reports of incidents from around the world.

Police called to fight over toilet paper. Two hotel maids in South Carolina got into a brawl over a roll of toilet paper. The weapons of choice in this fight were a mop and a plunger. Try not to picture that scene!

Melee breaks out at Crossroads Mall. A fracas involving 30 young people recently broke out at a West Virginia shopping mall. The news account I read called the conflict “a potato-related dispute.”

Tennis father accused in opponent’s drugging. A man in France has been accused of drugging athletes his son and daughter were about to play in tennis matches – on 27 occasions!

The message of Jesus could make such a difference in the world. Embracing the teachings of Jesus and adopting His lifestyle would put an end to so many of the disputes that put people at odds and divide them. Oh, how we need Jesus! Think of how He changes our thinking and actions.

Valuing peace means some things just are not worth fighting over (Romans 14).

Walking away from potential conflict is sometimes the best approach (Proverbs 26:17).

Winning the fight to get your way is often the result of self-centeredness (James 4).

Bullying is the way of the world, but not the way of His kingdom (Matthew 20:25 ff).

Sure, we need to take the message of Jesus to a world in desperate need. But before we start our efforts to coach the world in peacemaking skills, we first might want to build up some credibility by learning to be a peaceful people among ourselves. Outsiders view some of our intramural church skirmishes to be about as important as fighting over toilet paper. They perceive our methods of fighting about as silly as waving around a plunger. They consider our zeal for superiority as misplaced as the infamous tennis father. And they are right.

May God help us model peace to the world, and thereby build up the credibility we need to become a peacemaking people.

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