God spoke through the prophet Hosea, revealing that His people “…are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6
Ignorance is not bliss in God’s kingdom. Not knowing God and not knowing His way of doing things is, by default, opening the door to a world of hurt & suffering.
Right now in the U.S., we are witnessing some of the most turbulent & rancorous times in our country’s history. You don’t have to look very far to find angry, vocal & enraged people expressing themselves in angry & violent ways. This leads people with opposing ideologies to rise up with an equal amount of anger & rage in response. Or – in reaction to is the better phrase. “In response” implies thoughtful consideration. That’s not what we are witnessing.
Somethings gotta give.
Or more correctly, someone’s gotta give…an inch (or more)…toward reconciliation and peace.
Here is one of those deep scriptures, that if you breeze right over it, you miss what God is revealing:
“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” James 3:16
Slow down. Now re-read the verse: where envying and strife is…
What happens when envying (jealousy, desire for something that someone else has) & strife (vigorous or bitter conflict, discord, or antagonism) are present?
There will be confusion and every evil work. The New American Standard Bible says it this way, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.”
You can see this playing out in social media, in politics, in race relations. The anger & constant strife has lead to increasing rage, destruction and violence. Civility has seemingly left the building!
As Christians, we are not to emulate the behavior of people who do no know God. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church that they were, “… still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world?“
You can’t be a light to the world if you are still acting like you live in the dark.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9
We can shut the door on confusion & other evil, destructive influences in our life by staying out of strife and resisting envy, jealousy & selfish ambition.
It is a choice. Everyday. Sometimes multiple times per day. Choose to be at peace. Ask God to lead you away from the temptation to react and be argumentative. Turn off the TV if you have to and avoid strife-ruled people. Then go a step further and ask God to bring peace to your family, your community, our country. This is exercising your God-given ability to be a peace-maker, as all of God’s children should be.